In the face of growing calls from the oil and gas industry to allow for the exportation of American-produced oil and gas resources, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-NJ) today introduced three bills aimed at ensuring domestically-produced oil and gas stays in the United States to benefit American energy consumers and businesses.
"Exporting our domestically-produced oil should be off the table," said Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee, explaining that "American oil should be kept here to benefit our consumers, not shipped to Europe or Asia to help boost oil company profits."
Markey continued, "And when it comes to natural gas, the boom in domestic production occurring right now across America is providing Americans with lower utility bills, more manufacturing jobs, and cleaner burning fuels for our electricity and transportation sectors. Before we leap into natural gas exporting, we need to look good and hard to make sure we're not undermining these economy-wide benefits. The oil and gas companies enjoying record production and billions of dollars in annual taxpayer subsidies are doing just fine. They need no more favors from American taxpayers."
"Why would American families and businesses want to pay European prices for natural gas, which are three times higher than here at home, or Asian prices, which are six times higher? The benefits of domestic natural gas should be enjoyed by all Americans, not just a few privileged multinational companies," said Rep. Holt, Ranking Member of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.
Last week, the CEO of ConocoPhillips said that the United States should allow exports of crude oil to places like Latin America and Europe. The president of the American Petroleum Institute and others have made similar pronouncements. On natural gas, 24 applications have already been submitted to the Department of Energy requesting permission to export 29 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, or 42 percent of total current U.S. consumption. Last year, an Energy Department study found that exporting less than half that amount could lead to a 54 percent spike in domestic prices.
"For years, Republicans have been telling Americans "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.' But now, with U.S. oil production at a 20 year high and natural gas production at an all-time high, the tune is "Drill Here, Send There, Pay More.' Ensuring secure, affordable natural gas supplies for Americans should take priority over oil and gas company profits. That's what these three bills are all about," added Rep. Markey.
The first two bills introduced today would call a 10 year time-out on the export of oil and gas produced from America's public lands. They can be found HERE and HERE. The third bill, found HERE, would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a new process for determining whether applications to export natural gas are in the public interest. DOE's current process favors exporters because natural gas exports are presumed to be in the public interest unless it can be demonstrated that they are not. The bill introduced today would eliminate this "rebuttable presumption" in favor of exports and require the Secretary to examine the impact of the natural gas exports on household and business energy expenditures, the U.S. economy and manufacturing, U.S. jobs, U.S. energy security, global warming pollution, and other considerations.
In addition to direct impacts on energy costs for American consumers, studies have found higher domestic natural gas prices resulting from exporting could have significant negative impacts on U.S. manufacturers in industries like chemicals, fertilizers, and steel, which consume large amounts of natural gas and often site their facilities based on access to and the price of natural gas. Since the recent boom in natural gas production and moderation of domestic prices, nearly 100 new natural gas-intensive manufacturing projects have been announced in the United States. Those projects represent over $90 billion in investment and billions of cubic feet of additional future daily natural gas use and could be jeopardized by exporting domestic natural gas.