Murkowski calls for end to US crude export ban

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) officially came out in favor of ending a decades-old ban on crude oil exports on Tuesday.

At a conversation hosted by the Brookings Institute on Tuesday, the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee released a white paper detailing the reasons why she backs reversing the ban.

"The status quo isn't beneficial anymore," Murkowski said. "We need to act before the crude export ban raises problems and hurts American jobs."

The ban was established in the 1970s, amid the Arab oil embargoes. Talk of abolishing the ban has become more frequent in the administration and among lawmakers since late last year.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday that the U.S. trade deficit in November hit its lowest level in four years. With exports marking a record high and imports dropping 1.4 percent, the trade deficit in November was $34.3 billion, down 12.9 percent.

Check back at E2-Wire for more on Murkowski's white paper and speech on Tuesday.