A Look At The Crude Oil Ban Controversy

Posted on: 9 October 2015

As gas rises continue to rise and fall, the government is trying to find solutions that benefit Americans. One of the proposed methods is eliminating the crude oil ban that has been in place for almost 40 years. Understanding the ins and outs of this complicated issue can keep you better understand the problems plaguing the oil and gas manufacturing industry.

The History of the Crude Oil Ban

In 1975, Gerald Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act or the EPCA into law. This act severely limited the export of crude oil in an attempt to create more independence from foreign oil after the 1973 oil embargo caused gas prices to skyrocket.

The EPCA also created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help create a system of emergency storage sites across the country. It was also designed to help protect the environment from excessive oil usage and drilling.

The Proponents

Over the last few years, the EPCA has been under attack by several politicians, most recently Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Bush claims that eliminating the ban would help the economy by expanding the crude oil manufacturing and processing industry.

Bush is not alone: according to Dr. Robert Murphy, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research, keeping the ban in place would harm consumers by keeping gasoline prices high. He also believes limiting oil exports is a ban on the free market, believing Americans should have the ability to access and trade in the crude oil market.

The Opposition

Many environmental groups around the country are highly opposed to lifting the ban because of the perceived danger it poses to the Earth's ecosystem. For example, one study estimated that seal level would rise by at least 160 feet around the world if the rest of the world's fossil fuels were burned. It also raised concerns about the potential increase in oil production (more than 3.3 million barrels per day in a 20 year period) that would create 515 tons of carbon emission.

A similar environmental study estimated that lifting the band would create pollution on the level of 1,252 coal plants. Other problems concerning environmentalists include the potential expansion of such practices as fracking, oil trains, and sand mining.

Clearly, both sides of the debate have valid points and both sides need to be carefully considered before any law is passed. Even if the current potential legislation fails, there's a good chance that this issue won't go away any time soon.

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