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Three U.S. legislators have proposed a bill that would reimpose a ban on U.S. crude oil exports on the ground that this would benefit coastal communities, U.S. energy consumers as a whole, and help the U.S. achieve its climate change goals.
“Block All New (BAN) Fossil Fuel Exports Act, legislation that would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and ban the export of American crude oil and natural gas abroad to protect frontline communities from dangerous export infrastructure, prioritize U.S. consumers against fossil fuel profiteering, and help ensure the United States meets its climate and clean energy commitments on the world stage,” a news release on the page of Senator Edward Markey, a lead sponsor of the legislation, said.
This is the latest attempt to stop U.S. oil and gas producers from exporting their products overseas after a removal of the ban in December 2015 turned the United States into one of the largest energy exporters in the world.
“Oil and gas companies continue to pad their pockets at the expense of American consumers and frontline communities – all while fueling our global climate crisis,” Markey said. “Our country is due for an oil change. A ban on oil and natural gas exports overseas is a win for environmental justice, for our economy, and for our planet.”
The bill was introduced simultaneously in Senate and in the House of Representatives, where it will likely be rejected by the Republican majority. Yet it is a signal that the aggressive push against the oil industry from any direction possible is not letting up.
Previous attempts to reimpose the ban on crude oil and gas exports have run along similar lines with a special focus on keeping energy affordable for U.S. consumers. Opponents have invariably beat the initiative, however, pointing out that in a global oil market, even with an export ban, U.S. oil—and retail fuel—prices would be tied to global prices and a ban would lead to a surge in these.
An additional argument has been the importance of U.S. oil and gas for international partners such as Europe, which only avoided a major energy shortage last year thanks to urgent deliveries of U.S. liquefied natural gas.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.