Breaking: Senator Harry Reid says he's willing to make a deal to pass Lisa Murkowski's "No Fossil Fuel Left Behind" bill to lift the ban on exporting crude oil. Click here to tell Harry Reid and your Senators: Don't Take Part In A Crude Capitulation.
Oil baroness Lisa Murkowski scored a major victory when her bill to lift a 40 year ban on exporting crude oil slid through the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. And now she's received a boost from an unlikely source -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who just signaled his willingness to make a deal for the bill's passage.1 He even said that proponents of the bill, which would open up vast new areas off our coast to drilling and drive our climate past the tipping point, "have made very compelling arguments."
This is a serious problem. As the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Reid wields a lot of power and has the ability to sway votes in Murkowski's favor. But Sen. Reid is ignoring a recent report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) which concluded that lifting the ban would add 515 million metric tons of carbon pollution to our climate -- that's the equivalent of 108 million cars or 135 new coal-fired power plants.2
Harry Reid is also ignoring polls showing that a majority of Americans oppose lifting the oil export ban, including 61 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Independents.3 In fact, according to the survey, "Americans are placing high value on environmental protections and transitioning to renewable energy sources over the coming years." That's why we have to let Reid and other Senators know, it makes no sense to take part in a crude capitulation. Click here to make sure they get the message and out of the Big Oil Headlock.
Lifting the export ban will lead to more drilling, more spilling and a lot more climate pollution. In exchange for oil spills and climate chaos, U.S. consumers will actually be hurt by the plan too -- forced to pay higher prices at the pump and for heating fuel as domestic oil is shipped abroad so ExxonMobil and their allies can rake in bigger profits.
How much more drilling would oil exports unleash? A lot. According to one study, oil companies could drill an average of 26,385 new oil wells in the United States every year between 2016 and 2030.4 And those new wells have a good chance of spilling, exploding or crashing aground since they'll be drilled in new and uncertain places like the Arctic.
How much will that contribute to global warming? A lot: digging up and burning all that extra oil could result in as much as 515 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year, equivalent to the annual emissions of 108 million passenger cars or 135 coal-fired power plants.5
With all of the drawbacks considered, why are Harry Reid and other supposedly pro-environment Senators considering lifting the ban? With oil prices hitting a six-year low at $40/barrel last week, Big Oil is getting desperate for ways to make a profit. And if they can lift the export ban, that's just what they'll do.6
But Reid should know that the tanking oil prices are just the latest sign that our movement is winning. We're divesting from dirty fossil fuels and investing in clean energy. This isn't the time to capitulate, it's the time to fight harder, and knock Big Oil out for good! Click here to make sure Reid and every Senator gets that message -- before they return to D.C. in September.
Thanks for standing up for our climate,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Keep It In The Ground Crew
1 - Barney Jopson and Anjli Raval, Pressure grows to scrap controls on US oil exports, Financial Times, August 24, 2015
2 - Matt Lee-Ashley and Alison Cassady, The Environmental Impacts of Exporting More American Crude Oil, Center for American Progress, August 21, 2015
3 - Hart Research Associates, Public Opinion on the Use of Domestic Oil, December 19, 2014
4 - IHS Assessing the impact of the export ban and free trade on the US economy, May 2014
5 - CAP, Environmental Costs of Exporting more US Oil, August 21, 2015
6 - BBC - Oil prices hit six-year low on oversupply and China woes, August 24, 2015