Lifting of the United States’ 40-year-long ban on crude oil exports seems to be closer than ever with the new spending bill agreed upon by the US congressional leaders.
The USD 1.1 trillion spending and tax bill for the upcoming fiscal year needs to pass the House and the Senate vote before it is officially signed into law by the President Barack Obama, who has so far opposed the ban lifting. The vote is expected to be cast on Friday.
Lifting of the oil ban would be a victory for the Republicans and would provide a lifeline to oil drilling companies enabling them to compete on global basis. However, environmentalist fear that the likely drilling boom might result in further pressures on the environment increasing risks of major oil spills.
“Allowing oil exports is an important step forward in ensuring that our energy policies reflect our nation’s renewed abundance of resources. Not only will oil exports help safeguard our long-term economic prosperity, but it will also spur job creation across the country and deliver much-needed revenue to state and local governments,” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska said.
“We have an opportunity to modernize our energy export policy and make America a world leader on issues of trade, the environment, and energy production, but we must seize it,” Murkowski said.
The bipartisan agreement announced early Wednesday morning as part of a 2016 budget deal would repeal all restrictions on the export of U.S. crude oil under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, including requirements on producers in Alaska to obtain a presidential national interest finding before shipping oil abroad.
Limited export of oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline has been allowed, with presidential approval, since 1996. On the other hand, the bill adopts environmental measures related to wind and solar-tax credits.
World Maritime News Staff