House Republicans announced a deal late Tuesday between the GOP-led Congress and the White House on a trillion-dollar, year-end tax and spending package to fund the government through fiscal year 2016.
Part of the massive package is the lifting of the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil. The export ban was imposed during energy shortages of the 1970s, but has been declared outdated by industry allies. Environmentalists say lifting it would amount to a giant windfall for the oil industry.
“It puts the United States in the driver’s seat of energy policy worldwide,” Representative Joe Barton (Republican-Texas) said. The change — still subject to Senate and House approval — “is a huge victory,” he said.
Limits on U.S. oil exports would be lifted immediately, according to the bill released early Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee. It would allow the president to impose restrictions on exports for national-security reasons and in case of a shortage.
Sources said the bargain would allow five-year extensions of wind and solar tax credits and a two-year extension of the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund.
If Congress approves the deal and President Obama signs it, it would end trade limits established to counter the energy-supply shortages of the 1970s.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has said Obama opposes legislation ending the crude-export restrictions, though he hasn’t ruled out allowing repeal as part of a broader spending measure.
Some refiners, such as PBF Energy of Parsippany, New Jersey, and Monroe Energy, the Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, have said they may be harmed by repeal of the export ban.
Producers including ConocoPhillips and Continental Resources have lobbied for it, as the industry deals with a global oil glut and the associated price plunge.
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