Just five days after a US House of Representatives subcommittee passed a bill that would repeal a four-decade-old ban on exporting the country’s oil, the White House came out on Tuesday against the bill, according to various news agencies.
Last Thursday the House Energy and Power subcommittee voted for a version of the bill which still has to go through the whole committee and to the floor of the House.
An Obama administration spokesman on Tuesday said the White House supports an earlier Commerce Department recommendation which would allow exports to a limited number of countries – not a blanket lifting of the ban.
The White House’s position echoes Democratic and environmentalist concerns such as that: prices at the pump could go up for consumers (although a report by an Energy Department agency rejects this likelihood); more renewable energy is preferable to more oil; there could be an increased risk of industrial accident with more oil being transported across the country; the ban makes sense so long as the country is still importing oil.
Supporters of the bill see it as a job grower and a sensible acknowledgement that the potential supply now is abundant.
The ban was originally imposed in reaction to an embargo by Arab countries as punishment for a perceived US role in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
Oil companies and politicians from states with strong oil business have been pushing for repeal.