Congress agreed to end a 40-year ban on oil exports Tuesday night as part of a $1.1 trillion dollar omnibus spending package. The decision to lift the ban spells disaster for Earth’s climate and for the United States. The lifting of the oil export ban presents a huge win for lawmakers controlled by the oil industry. In exchange for lifting the ban, tax breaks set to expire for the solar and biofuel industries will be extended.
According to a recent study, lifting the ban on oil exports will increase U.S. oil production by 3.3 million barrels a day. Lifting the oil export ban would mean that “oil companies would drill an average of 26,385 new oil wells in the United States every year between 2016 and 2030 if the crude oil export ban is lifted, or approximately 7,600 more wells on average per year than if the ban remains in place,” according the study. Most of those oil wells are expected to be fracked.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon decried the oil export ban, saying that it was a “huge mistake” and that “is a windfall for big oil at the expense of working Americans and our planet.”
Environmentalists are urging President Obama to veto the spending package. “President Obama must veto this horrendous proposal or he’ll show the world that the commitments he just made in Paris are insincere,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute in a statement released Wednesday “The president is at real risk of losing any chance he has at a positive legacy on climate.”
Reports indicate that is extremely likely that President Obama will not veto the bill, despite being against lifting the oil export ban.
Scientific studies have shown that keeping the majority of reserves of fossils fuels that are left in the ground, if we are to make any progress in preventing the worst effects of climate change. By lifting the oil export ban, Congress has once again given the scientific community a slap in the face. The Republicans driving the lift, and those that have caved to them, have proven that they have no interest in serving the people and are only interesting in furthering the agenda of the fossil fuel industry.