Update: Senator Lisa Murkowski's bill to export crude oil, and expand domestic drilling is sliding it's way through the Senate, and may get a vote next week. Click here to tell your Senators "The Ban Must Stand."
The U.S. Senate could become even more crude in the coming weeks. That's because Oil Baroness Lisa Murkowski's bill to lift the ban on oil exports is inching towards the finish line. She promises that the bill will be voted on in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next week.1 And, if this bill crosses the finish line, it could end the race to protect our climate, environment and economy.
Climate champion Elizabeth Warren pointed out that lifting the ban would increase global carbon emissions by more than 22 million metric tons annually.2 It's among the many reasons that she characterized the bill as "very dangerous" for our environment. Our friends at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) note that since Murkowski's bill requires drilling, public input and environmental due process would be eliminated.3 Murkowski's bill is the exact opposite of what we need to fight climate change, as we've been told by many scientists we must keep 80 percent of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avert the worst effects of climate catastrophe.
Murkowski's bill now has 13 co-sponsors including Climate-Denier-in-Chief Senator James Inhofe. A recent count put her only five votes shy of attaining a senate super majority -- all but assuring passage. If we are going to stop this bill from unleashing its hydrocarbon havoc, we're going to have to take high octant action. That's why I need you to contact your senators today and tell them plain and simple, "The ban must stand!"
This bill is absolutely the wrong thing to do right now. At a time when our economy is struggling for regular people, Murkowski's bill would raise gas prices and ship even more jobs overseas. Yesterday, during a hearing for the bill, the United Steelworkers union decried, "Congress must not overlook the negative impact lifting the crude oil ban will have on fuel prices, economic securities and jobs."4
But don't just take their word for it. A recent report confirms that lifting the ban would raise gasoline prices by as much as six cents a gallon as well as increasing jet fuel and heating oil prices.5 And, it's worth noting that report was commissioned by Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy, an ad hoc group of independent oil refineries. Even Big Oil thinks this is a bad idea.
That doesn't matter to Murkowski who claims this bill would be for the benefit of the country. But she's not as slick as she thinks. The main reason why she wants to slide this bill through is because it would include a revenue sharing scheme that would divert billions of federal dollars to coastal states like her home state of Alaska. Worse yet, the revenue scheme would actually create incentives to drill in environmentally sensitive places like the Arctic Ocean and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
This bill is nothing more than a Big Oil giveaway that puts profits over the people and environment. And if we don't do something about it, we will see more oil spills, more bomb trains exploding and higher costs for fueling our cars, homes and air travel. I know you won't stand by and let this happen. But we have to act fast if we're going to stop this bill. Contact your senators today and tell them to keep the oil export ban intact.
Thanks for taking action,
Anthony and the anti-pollution-export team at Environmental Action
1. Cama, Timothy. Senate Panel To Vote On Lifting Oil Export Ban. The Hill. July 23, 2015.
2. Aguirre, Lauren. Warren: Lifting Oil Export Ban 'Dangerous' For Environment. The Hill. July 28, 2015.
3. Matzner, Franz. Murkowski's Big Oil Giveaway: Profits Over People. Natural Resource Defense Council. July 27, 2015.
4. Martinson, Erica. Murkowski Drive To End Ban On Crude Oil Exports Inches Forward. Alaska Dispatch News. July 28, 2015.
5. Stanil and Company. U.S. Crude Oil Pricing Analysis. July 2015.