The top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is asking President Obama to lift the decades-old ban on exporting crude oil.
“Lifting the ban will help create jobs, boost the economy, and keep our production at record levels,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote in a letter to Obama on Tuesday.
Murkowski released a report and gave a speech last week laying out the reasons that the ban, which Congress put in place in the aftermath of the 1973 oil embargo by Middle East producers, should be eliminated. She said the Commerce Department, which governs the small amount of oil exports allowed now, could lift the ban or Obama could do it himself.
“The necessity of lifting the prohibition on crude-oil exports also presents us with a rare opportunity to work together in a bipartisan fashion to address this situation before it becomes a problem,” said Murkowski, noting that the ban is poised to create oil-glut problems soon.
Murkowski doesn’t even have the full support of her own party, though. Key House Republicans, including Reps. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and Doug Lamborn of Colorado, reacted cautiously to the prospect of lifting the ban and did not endorse such a policy change.