Ongoing deliberations in the U.S. Congress over a proposed Iran deal have once again placed the spotlight on efforts to end the 40-year-old U.S. ban on exporting crude oil. Most Republican and some Democratic lawmakers are of the opinion that America’s new position as the world’s leading oil producer necessitates the lifting of a ban that took effect as a result of the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. Proponents argue it will boost domestic oil production, stimulate the economy and create more jobs. Environmentalists are concerned it will only benefit the oil and gas industry. Some refiners fear this will raise oil prices. Others say this move could harm national security.
National Journal’s forum with Democratic and Republican lawmakers explored the building momentum around this issue. We posed questions such as: will lifting the ban make America more competitive or will it increase greenhouse gases by promoting oil exploration? Will it raise energy prices, even though recent studies predict a drop in fuel prices as a result of more American oil in the market? Where does the Administration stand on the issue and what about the concerns of some groups that the easing of restrictions will result in jobs being shipped overseas?