UPDATE: The House just voted 261-159 to lift the ban on Crude oil Exports for the first time in over 40 years. This is a disastrously bad bill that could increase drilling, flood our shores with spilled oil and push our climate past the tipping point.1 In fact, the bill is so bad that President Obama has already promised to veto it, setting up a showdown in the Senate, eerily reminiscent of the Keystone XL veto override we just won a few months ago.2
Big Oil doesn't think we're ready to fend off oil exports, like we were with Keystone. As one lobbyist said, "There is not a nationally organized effort to keep the export ban in place for environmental reasons like you had on Keystone XL.”3
Dozens of our allies are preparing to fight with us, prove Big Oil wrong and keep this oil in the ground. But some groups and Democratic leaders are already talking about cutting a deal. We have to act NOW to tell every member of the Senate "The Ban Must Stand!"
Today's vote is a disappointment, but not a surprise. Even in the middle of a massive intra-party food fight over who should be the next Speaker of the House, nearly every Republican member of Congress found time to vote for this bill. If passed, it will give away huge profit to Big Oil, while destroying our chance to stabilize the climate, protect our coasts and keep fossil fuels underground where they belong.4
Senate leaders like Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Lisa Murkowski are charging hard for oil exports because they know this fall is their best chance to kill the ban. The idea of crude oil exports has become a rallying cry among fossil fuel backers - even drawing shout-outs from Republican presidential candidates like Jeb Bush.5 That's because the walls are closing in on Big Oil: With oil prices still low, companies like Shell are finding it harder and harder to justify going to ever more extreme ends to find oil in America. Last week Shell gave up (for now) on plans to drill the Arctic.6 Next up on the chopping block could be other extreme drilling like fracking, or risky and expensive transportation projects like the Keystone Pipeline and Bomb Train shipments of crude oil.
If Big Oil can slide their bill through in the next few months, they'll lock in profits for decades to come. But the idea is unpopular: More drilling and shipping crude oil poses big risks to our land, water and climate. More of us will live next door to a drilling rig as they expand production in the Arctic, the Bakken (America's tar sands) and off the Atlantic Coast. And even if you don't live next to the drillers, your community will be at risk as more and more bomb trains, pipelines and tankers traverse our nation and the world carrying perilous petroleum.7 That's why a majority of Americans, including 75 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Independents and 61 percent of Republicans all oppose lifting the ban.8
It all comes down to the next few weeks and whether we can hold the line in the Senate. Last year, we won a similar fight to uphold the president's Keystone XL veto by the narrowest of margins, with your help we can do the same with this climate killing bill. Click here to make sure we do it again by telling your Senators we need to keep the crude oil export ban intact.
Thanks for supporting our climate,
Drew and the Crude Oil Swan Song crew at Environmental Action
1 - Associated Press, House votes to lift ban on oil exports, CBS news, October 9, 2015.
2 - Mark Drajem, Obama Opposes Bill to Lift Oil Export Ban Set for House Vote, Bloomberg news, September 15, 2015
3 - Elana Schor, House endorses oil exports amid echoes of Keystone fight, Politico, October 09, 2015
4 - Final Vote Results For Roll Call 542, Clerk of the U.S. House, October 09, 2015
5 - Matt Flegenheimer, Jeb Bush Calls for Ending Ban on Crude Oil Exports, New York Times, September 29, 2015
6 - Terry Macalister, Shell abandons Alaska Arctic drilling, The Guardian, September 28, 2015
7 - Matt Lee-Ashley and Alison Cassady, The Environmental Impacts of Exporting More American Crude Oil, Center for American Progress, August 21, 2015.
8 - Hart Research Associates, Public Opinion on the Use of Domestic Oil, December 19, 2014