The United States is poised, in the coming weeks, to give Iran a freedom we don’t even give ourselves. That is, the ability to export crude oil. 

Approval of the nuclear deal with Iran will lift oil trade sanctions on that country, allowing it to add an expected 1 million barrels per day onto the international market.  However, the United States will remain shackled by its own, self-imposed oil trade sanctions. 

It makes no sense. 

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It is time Congress and the Obama administration provide our country the same opportunities to export domestic crude that they’re set to give Iran.   

Thanks to a steady drumbeat of bipartisan support, we are closer than ever to making this a reality.  The House just voted to lift the oil export ban, and the Senate is expected to take up the issue early next year.  As an energy producing state, it is vital that we continue to highlight this important issue until this antiquated ban is lifted.   

Rarely do we encounter an opportunity that can boost our domestic economy while simultaneously increasing American’s standing on the world stage.  Yet, lifting the ban on U.S. oil exports would do just that.   

In my state of Colorado, this is not a partisan issue but one of common sense and business opportunity.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Senator Cory GardnerCory GardnerSenate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts Senators air grievances on Trump energy budget, delays MORE, a Republican, both support lifting the ban.  Plus, with Reps. Ken Buck (R), Mike Coffman (R), Doug Lamborn (R), Ed Perlmutter (D) and Scott Tipton (R) all voting to dump this outdated policy, once again we see Colorado as a leading bipartisan voice for this issue.   

Colorado’s elected officials understand the world, and our economy, have changed greatly since the 1973 Arab oil embargo led Congress to pass the ban on U.S. oil exports in nearly all circumstances.   

In today’s world, oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports offer a path away from OPEC domination of the world’s energy markets.  Unstable regimes in Russia and the Middle East should not be allowed to hold such sway over the international market.  Increasing U.S. production and exports strengthens our country’s energy independence and national security and benefits our allies across the globe.    

The United States is blessed with an enormous supply of both oil and natural gas, much of which can be found right here in Colorado. We should leverage this natural resource to its fullest potential.  As the governor recently noted, more oil and natural gas production in Colorado would put more money into federal, state and local governments via royalties and severance taxes.  Those dollars help educate our children, pave our roads, and support our libraries, parks and water systems. 

The last nine months have been turbulent for many Colorado energy producers as they cope with low commodity prices, an uncertain regulatory climate and a slowing of production.  Lifting the ban would encourage these companies to start investing and hiring again. 

If the ban is lifted, U.S. jobs will increase, on average, 394,000, with the peak job creation in 2018 at nearly 1 million, according to Colorado-based IHS Energy, one of the premier providers of global market, industry and technical expertise. 

And it’s not just energy companies that would benefit. Consumers would continue to enjoy low energy costs and low prices at the pump, which means more cash in their pockets to be spent on other goods and services.  

While opponents of lifting the ban argue that it could raise the price of gasoline studies have clearly shown the opposite is actually true.  According to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration, exporting U.S. oil would encourage more production while opening up new markets which can further ease the prices at the pump with the additional supply.    

Lifting the export ban is a major opportunity for this country and one that should not be missed.  It is time that we cement our nation as the global energy leader it is destined to be and create thousands of well-paying American jobs in the process.   

Haley is the president and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.