Bill to lift crude oil export ban passes through House

Bill to lift crude oil export ban passes through House

Amarillo, TX - Consumers could soon see lower prices at the gas pump while the job market for oil field workers increases.

Area Congressman, Mac Thornberry is a co-sponsor of the bill, and today it passed through the house with a vote of 261 to 159.

Thornberry said lifting this ban could bring drastic change to the U.S. economy.

In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the crude oil export ban into law.

"What it was implemented for was to try to make sure that the U.S. kept it's oil and reserves inside the country, because at that particular time, it looked like crude oil in the U.S. was dissipating and that we were going to have a limited supply going forward," Judy Stark, Executive Vice President at Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association, said.

At the time, lawmakers felt this would be a good economic decision, but today some officials said it's doing nothing but costing jobs and money.

Thornberry said "Removing this ban on oil exports will benefit our local oil workers and producers. This bill is a commonsense move to get rid of an outdated law."

In Texas, nearly 125,000  jobs have been lost in the past 6 months. This is happening in a state where 46 percent of the economy comes from oil and gas.

IHS, a non-partisan energy analysis company, said lifting the restrictions on exports would support nearly one million additional jobs and increase domestic crude oil prices and production.

Stark said in Amarillo, this is a major positive.

"What it does is number one, we would be able to continue to produce oil and sell it on an open market," Stark said. "We would give ourselves a good geopolitical stance in the world and not just in the United States."

The local rig count, which has been cut back drastically in the past year,  would also increase.

IHS also said doing away with the ban would cut the U.S. oil import bill by $67 billion a year and increase the average income per household by $391.

IHS estimates removing the restriction could reduce U.S. gas prices by as much as 12 cents per gallon. However, there is opposition to the bill.

Opponents said it only benefits oil companies and is a giveaway to big oil at the expense of American consumers.

The White House has threatened to veto this bill should it make it's way to the presidents desk. The bill heads to the senate next, but congress falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.