The head of the nation’s most powerful business group said Wednesday that he favors ending the ban on U.S. crude-oil exports, joining the nation’s top oil-lobbying group and some senior lawmakers who want to end the decades-old limits.
“I want to lift the ban. I just want to get it done in a reasonable sequence,” said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He said the limits won’t be removed “overnight” but predicted, “It is going to happen.”
Donohue, addressing reporters, did not say how much lobbying and advocacy muscle the group will put behind its position.
His remarks arrive a day after the top Republican on the Senate’s energy panel and the American Petroleum Institute called for ending the statutory and policy limits imposed after the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970s.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Tuesday that the White House should use its administrative discretion to allow crude exports amid surging domestic production, but that Congress should act if the administration doesn’t.
Donohue spoke to reporters after making his annual State of American Business speech.
Karen Harbert, who heads the chamber’s energy program, said in an interview that the group would ultimately like to see Congress lift the export ban.
But she acknowledged that’s unlikely to happen in an election year and said the White House should begin allowing more exports under existing administrative powers.
“In the interim, the administration does have the authority to chip away at this where they determine it is in our national interest,” said Harbert, president of the chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.
The Energy Department predicts the U.S. will pump 9.3 million barrels of oil per day in 2015, the highest level since 1972.
“The market has changed so substantially that it is now incumbent upon us to realize, and the American public to realize, that oil exports are in our national interest,” said Harbert, who was a top adviser at the Energy Department during the George W. Bush administration.
“We have a mismatch between what we are producing and what our refining capacity is, and our refiners are not going to expend a tremendous amount of capital to meet this. We need to adjust to these market inefficiencies, which will benefit the American consumer over time,” she said.
Harbert, like her boss, Donohue, isn’t predicting the U.S. will open the taps to exports quickly, but she said, “The time to begin the discussion is now.”
Promotion of energy exports, including liquefied natural gas and coal, will be part of a broader “Energy Works for US” initiative the chamber’s energy institute will unveil next week, she said.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.