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Oil-Export Issue Puts House Republicans in a Bind Oil-Export Issue Puts House Republicans in a Bind

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Energy Edge

Oil-Export Issue Puts House Republicans in a Bind

January 13, 2014

Oil-Export Issue Puts House Republicans in a Bind

Let's call this the conservatives' caveat: "I support free trade, but…"

It's politically tricky for Republicans, whose party by principle represents free markets, free trade, and small government, to oppose lifting a government ban on exports.


Enter several key House Republicans, including Reps. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, John Shimkus of Illinois, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, and Fred Upton of Michigan, who are all reacting cautiously, if not nervously, to the prospect of lifting the decades-old ban on crude-oil exports.

This caginess comes from a confluence of factors: 1) They need to know more about the issue before commenting (although, that doesn't stop them on other issues); 2) Old habits die hard, no matter what party you belong to. We've been banning exports of crude oil since the 1970s; and 3) They're hearing from refineries that would prefer to keep the status quo.

Maybe Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who fully endorsed the change last week, hasn't gotten to them yet.

Amy Harder


By Clare Foran (@ckmarie) and Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman)

CRITICS SAY CHEMICAL SPILL HIGHLIGHTS STATE VULNERABILITY. Advocates of tougher controls on chemical production facilities say the spill highlights lax monitoring and regulatory requirements.

  • Our take: The spill will also revive calls to toughen the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, but the odds of legislation getting to the finish line this year are slim.

THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF OIL RELEASED IN NORTH DAKOTA TRAIN DERAILMENT. A preliminary report on the derailment released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday estimates that the accident caused $6.1 million in damages.

U.S., CANADIAN OFFICIALS LOOK TO END OIL-BY-RAIL ACCIDENTS. Representatives from the U.S. embassy met with Canadian officials to discuss rail safety following recent derailments and explosions on both sides of the border.

DEMS CALL FOR HEARING ON CHEMICAL SPILL. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. are asking for a hearing to look at whether a lapse in regulatory authority in West Virginia contributed to the accident.

CONSERVATIVE GROUP PULLS ADS AGAINST RAHALL IN WEST VIRGINIA. The American Energy Alliance said it will instead work to help families cope with the chemical spill that's crippled the state.

COAL DRIVES UP CARBON EMISSIONS. Coal has won back some lost ground in power generation and that's pushing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions up.

CONGRESS PRODDED ON OFFSHORE-DRILLING SAFETY. Members of a presidential panel charged with investigating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill say Congress has done little to prevent future disasters.

WHEN CONSERVATISM COLLIDES WITH AMERICA'S OIL BOOM. Republicans and free-traders are conflicted about lifting the crude-oil export ban.

RENEWABLE-ENERGY GROUP HEAD OUTLINES PRIORITIES. Biofuels, tax policy, and water shortages are atop the agenda of the new head of the American Coalition on Renewable Energy.

APPEALS COURT STRIKES DOWN BP'S ATTEMPT TO CURTAIL SETTLEMENT. A federal appeals court judge ruled that BP's settlement payout to claimants in the 2010 Gulf spill should go forward.

HOW ONE UTILITY GIANT CREATED A PIPELINE OF SKILLED WORKERS. A California power company developed a unique in-house training program after facing a major worker shortage.


CLIMATE-CHANGE RULE BILL MARKUP. The House Energy and Power Subcommittee convenes to hold a vote on H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act.

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