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September 14, 2015

Key U.S. House Subcommittee Votes To Lift Crude Export Ban

As Connecting the Dots reported earlier this year, MSCI is working with the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) to end the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. Our work during the first half of the year resulted in a successful vote last week by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power to lift the ban. Lawmakers on the panel passed the bill, H.R. 702, on a voice vote. 

Despite the positive outcome of the subcommittee hearing, EEIA reported to its coalition members that several Democratic lawmakers expressed reservations about H.R. 702 in its present form, but indicated a willingness to work with Republicans to find a path forward. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), who indicated he would not support H.R. 702 in its current form, acknowledged, “The time might be ripe for lifting the ban.” Republicans on the panel all spoke in favor of ending the ban. 

Additionally last week, as reported by Politico’s “Morning Energy,” the Blue Dog Coalition, which consists of 15 House Democrats, announced it would support lifting the ban. Blue Dog Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said, “As the representative for one of the largest oil-producing regions in the country, I have seen the negative effects of the crude oil export ban on industry in my district. … With jobs being lost and equipment being taken offline, we need to take proactive steps to ensure that the new product being drawn out of the ground with new extraction technologies can be sold. Lifting the ban will benefit the U.S. economy and will likely lead to lower gas prices. It will also jump-start the economy by creating as many as 800,000 new jobs.” (The jobs number Rep. Cuellar cited was taken from an EEIA report, discussed in more detail below.) 

Moving forward, EEIA will work to find ways to increase bipartisanship support for ending the ban while preserving the essential goals of free trade in crude oil and the boost to domestic production and to jobs and business output in the multi-tiered supply chain that supports the industry. 

The full Energy and Commerce Committee will debate H.R. 702 on Thursday, Sept. 17. Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots for more information as this legislation moves forward and click here to read about EEIA’s study explaining the benefits, including the employment benefits cited by Rep. Cuellar, of ending the ban.