Week ahead: House to vote on crude oil ban

House lawmakers will cast a vote on lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, the next step in an expanding debate over the issue.

Members of both chambers of Congress have grappled with the ban this session, and its prospects for repeal have grown markedly over the last several months.

Faced with the prospects of declining prices at home and Iranian oil flooding the market after sanctions on the country are lifted, oil producers and their legislative allies are pushing to open up the rest of the world to American crude as soon as possible.

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The House will vote on a bill from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) that would end the ban, a move House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised last month. Senators are considering a similar measure.

Barton’s bill — like one from Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP governors confront Medicaid divide GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Alaska) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks The buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (D-N.D.) — won’t pass as is. The White House has come out against the measure, arguing the Commerce Department already has the ability to approve crude exports under certain circumstances.

But supporters say they are open to finding some type of compromise, a prospect that presented itself at a recent Senate hearing on the matter. At a Banking Committee markup, most every Democratic senator voted against the bill, but some spoke in favor of working toward a resolution.

The bill’s movement through Congress has kicked off a lobbying campaign on the issue. Oil producers say the measure will help provide a boost to the growing American oil industry, and they are hitting the airwaves to make their case in several congressional districts around the United States.

Environmentalists and some oil refiners opposed to the measure are pushing back, however, warning against increased oil production’s effect on climate change and domestic gasoline prices.

Elsewhere, House Science subcommittees on the environment and oversight will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Environmental Protection Agency’s new ozone standards.

On Thursday, the investigative arm of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear from a Volkswagen executive on the car manufacturer’s emissions scandal. The committee’s energy and power panel will also hold a hearing on the EPA’s carbon emissions regulations for new and existing power plants on Tuesday.

In the Senate, Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Overnight Energy: Rough hearing for Tillerson Overnight Energy: Former Exxon chief Tillerson takes the hot seat MORE will testify before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Tuesday.

The four commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will testify at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Wednesday.

 

Recent stories: 

— EPA to tighten federal limits on ozone: http://bit.ly/1FLxRF5

— Senate panel approves oil export bill: http://bit.ly/1LYt1Fp

— Judge in Wyoming blocks fracking rule: http://bit.ly/1RkPVam

— Bush energy plan would boost exports, approve Keystone: http://bit.ly/1hgjtca

— Shell to abandon Arctic drilling efforts: http://bit.ly/1FN8z9u