On Saturday, the Obama administration left open the door to revisiting the crude exports limits that have been in place for close to four decades. The administration said following a Senate Energy Committee hearing on the current ban that it continues to closely monitor the implications of the surge in oil production in the U.S.
Even those advocates in favor of making changes to the export ban, led by Lisa Murkowski, the ranking House Republican on the committee, do not expect the rest of Congress to wade into the volatile issue.
They have urged President Obama to utilize his existing authority in the executive branch to ease the growing glut in the nation of light shale oil.
He continued by saying the administration was closely monitoring implications of the growing energy supplies domestically, including the security, environmental and economic challenges and opportunities that it has presented.
During the energy committee’s first congressional hearing on the crude export limits in the U.S., which were started during the oil prices shocks of the 1970s, committee members from both the Republicans and Democrats appeared to act how politicians are not known for – keeping an open mind on what is a very intellectually complex issue.
Senatorial skepticism has abounded that ending the export limits might resolve the current difference regionally in the costs of crude, the most important determinant of prices paid by consumers at the pump and to their benefit.
Maria Cantwell a Democratic Senator from Washington said price and safety were her most important concerns. She cited the focus amongst policymakers of the recent accidents with crude by rail, in Canada and the U.S.
Republican Senator Tim Scott spoke for a majority of Republicans when touting the creation of jobs and the balancing of trade benefits in the production of more light shale oil in the U.S. Production is ready to pass 8 million barrels a day by the end of 2014.