A House of Representatives panel will hold a hearing on Dec. 11 to explore whether a decades-old law that prohibits the export of crude oil makes sense in an era of domestic energy abundance. The House subcommittee on energy and power, chaired by Representative Ed Whitfield, will hone in on the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act, drafted in response to the 1973 oil crisis.
The law prohibited the export of most crude oil, created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules for cars and trucks, also known as CAFE standards. “We need to take a comprehensive look at where we came from, where we are today, and where we want to go from here,” Whitfield said in a release. The debate over whether Washington should lift its nearly 40-year crude oil export ban will come sharply into focus in January, when Republicans take over leadership of both the House and Senate.
Oil exports champion Senator Lisa Murkowski will take over as chairman of the Senate energy committee. In the House equivalent, Chairman Fred Upton – who will retain the gavel – has said he has not yet made up his mind on the exports question, but senior committee member Congressman Joe Barton has voiced his support for lifting the ban. Energy Information Administration chief Adam Sieminski will testify at the hearing along with a panel of other experts, who will be named at a later date.