October 01, 2015

Shelby Opening Remarks at American Crude Oil Export Equality Act Mark Up

WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, October 01, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following opening statement during a full committee executive session to mark up the “American Crude Oil Export Equality Act.”
The text of Chairman Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  
“Today, we will consider for mark up the ‘American Crude Oil Export Equality Act,’ which represents a bipartisan effort to eliminate the 40-year old restrictions on the export of American crude oil. 
“I believe that the final product of this effort is one that will deliver economic growth and promote free trade and open markets.
“The bill is not a complex or long piece of legislation, but it nevertheless is both significant and timely for the U.S. economy.  
“First, the bill contains a set of findings that describe the economic and security benefits that would be derived from increased domestic crude oil production. 
“Notably, the current capacity of American crude oil reserves did not exist in the 1970’s when export restrictions were used to support a failed price control policy to combat world-wide OPEC-led oil disruptions.
“Second, the bill repeals section 103 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which has given the President nearly unlimited power to restrict U.S. crude oil exports over the last four decades. 
“The bill allows the ban to be extended, however, against any country that is or becomes subject to U.S. trade restrictions or national security designations.
“Third, this legislation gives the President limited authority to impose licensing requirements or other restrictions for certain periods in cases of national emergency, material supply shortages, sustained price increases above world market levels, or sustained employment effects that are directly attributable to exports.
“Finally, the bill includes a Government Accountability Office study on the effects of lifting the crude oil export restrictions on U.S. energy production and on consumers, refiners, shipbuilding and shipyards.
“I’d like to commend Senator Heitkamp for her tireless efforts over so many months to introduce and advance this legislation. 
“The case for lifting the ban on exporting crude oil is strong, and continues to grow stronger each day.
“The Banking Committee held a hearing in July on the question of lifting America’s restrictions where it received testimony from Senators Murkowski and Hoeven, as well as a panel of academic and industry experts.
“This followed over one year of additional hearings in both chambers of Congress on why the export restrictions are outdated and should be repealed.
“There continues to be overwhelming evidence and data presented that details the benefits of lifting the ban. 
“Numerous reports make this case from academic institutions such as Columbia and Harvard; think tanks such as Brookings, Aspen and the Atlantic Council; as well as units of the United States government such as the G.A.O, the Congressional Budget Office and the Energy Information Administration.
“In addition, support of lifting the domestic crude ban has been voiced by officials who have served in the Obama, Clinton and Bush administrations. 
“Many agree that lifting this ban will give the United States economy substantial benefits including increased energy production and investment, public revenue, and trade and energy security.
“Studies have also found that it will lead to an increase in jobs and will help decrease gasoline prices at the pump.
“In addition, there are many geopolitical advantages of eliminating crude oil export controls.   There are also many disadvantages if we fail to do so.
“For example, the administration’s Iran deal will relax global oil export restrictions for Iran – the leading state sponsor of terrorism.  If we do not lift our own domestic restrictions, we will be unable to compete with Iranian oil.
“U.S. crude oil should be made available to global markets, particularly considering it is a far more secure source of oil supply than Iran.
“U.S. crude exports would also allow Europe to diversify its crude oil supply sources away from a current dependency on Russia, and provide Asian allies with a secure supply route away from the dangerous routes increasingly claimed by China in the South China Sea.
“The United States is at a tipping point in the crude oil market.  Domestic oil producers, many of them smaller companies, require incentives to drill and produce, and must have access to the world market. 
“If we keep the status quo, we risk curtailing the economic growth and job creation afforded by this industry, as well as the benefits Americans receive through lower gas prices.
“I believe that it is time to eliminate the ineffective, decades-old ban on exporting crude oil and I urge the members of this committee to support this legislation.”