Breaking: The Senate could vote soon to end the 40 year ban on exporting crude oil. The House passed similar legislation despite President Obama's promise to veto. Now there are reports that some senators are willing to make a deal to lift the ban. Click here to tell your senators, "The Ban Must Stand."
When President Obama announced the rejection of Keystone XL, he said plain and simple, "We're going to have to leave some of the fossil fuels in the ground."1 In fact, climate scientists tell us that to avert the worst impacts of climate change we need to keep 80 percent of proven fossil fuel reserves underground and un-burned. Unfortunately there are members of Congress who haven't gotten this message yet.
We've heard this week that there are Democratic members in the Senate who are ready to make a deal that would lift the 40 year ban on crude oil exports. If they do, it will unleash a campaign to "Drill Baby Drill" for more extreme oil in the arctic, off the Atlantic coast and all across California. It would also allow Big Oil to hold our climate and planet hostage. Lifting the export ban could increase the price of gas by as much 14.5 cents per gallon, open 137 square miles of open space (the size of Arches National Park in Utah) for drilling and add as much global warming pollution as 108 million cars annually.2
I'm writing from Paris at the COP21 summit where negotiators from around the world are working hard for a global agreement to act on climate. If the United States lifts the crude export ban during this summit, it will send a dangerous message about our willingness to do what is necessary. That's why I need you to contact your senators right now and tell them, "The Band Must Stand." Please click here to make sure they get the message.
While most Democrats in the Senate flatly reject the idea of exporting crude oil, I've heard that there are some who are willing to make a deal. Usually solid environmental votes like Corey Booker (D-NJ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and more are getting an earful from Big Oil and their allies in the Senate that making a deal that trades some short term tax credits for renewable energy in exchange for a permanent right to export crude oil would be in the best interest of our economy AND our environment. But that's a BAD deal - all we'd get is a few years of renewable energy support (which we badly need to do anyway) in exchange for locking in a permanent source of pollution. In fact, the deal is so bad, even the Koch Brothers disapprove of it.3
We need these senators to listen to us, not Big Oil lobbyists and allies who got paid a whopping $40 million in 20144 to be crude instead of shrewd. That's why our friends at Sierra Club, United Steel Workers and Public Citizen sent a letter to Harry Reid (D-NV) explaining how lifting the ban would be bad for our economy, climate and environment.5 The message needs to be crystal clear, no deal is good enough to slide out of a climate commitment while Big Oil make big bucks.
House members who want to scuttle the climate talks are busy trying to add amendments lifting the ban to almost every year end bill under consideration -- including a new energy bill that just passed on a partisan vote, and the infamous CR-omnibus bill.5 We need to make sure the Senate doesn't start their own 'Shell game' by trying to convince our allies to make a deal.
It's time to bury the entire idea of crude oil exports down deep next to the fossil fuels. Click here to let your senators know that any deal that lifts the crude oil export ban will be seen as nothing more than a crude capitulation.
Thanks for sounding off,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Keep It In The Ground Crew.
1. Freking, Kevin. Obama: 'We're Going to Have to Keep Some Fossil Fuels In The Ground Rather Than Burn Them.' CNSnews.com. November 9, 2015.
2. Ashley, Matt Lee, Cassady, Allison. The Environmental Impacts of Exporting More Crude Oil. Center for American Progress. August 21, 2015.
3. Dloughy, Jennifer A. Koch Industries Blast Swapping Oil Exports for Renewable Credit. Bloomberg Business. November 24, 2015.
4. Center for Responsive Politics: Oil and Gas Long Term Contributions Trend.
5. PRNewswire/USNewswire: United Steelworkers, Sierra Club and Public Citizen Tell Senate To Maintain Crude Oil Export Ban. December 2, 2015.