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GOP gov: Obama open to discussing oil exports

GOP gov: Obama open to discussing oil exports
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President Obama is willing to discuss whether to allow companies to export crude oil, Oklahoma’s governor said after meeting with him.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) told reporters Monday that the topic came up after she encouraged Obama to sign the bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, which he again said he will veto.

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“I asked him if he would consider allowing the United States to export crude oil or [liquefied natural gas] and he said that he was open to that discussion,” Fallin said outside the White House after she and other state governors spoke with Obama as part of the National Governors Association meeting.

“So I was encouraged that there was some areas that we could find to work together,” she said.

The White House did not immediately comment on Fallin’s description of the meeting, which was closed to the press.

Crude oil exports have been all but banned by Congress since the 1970s, and there is little Obama can do on his own to weaken or overturn the prohibition without legislation.

Nonetheless, the Commerce Department last year told oil companies that they can export condensate, a lightly processed oil that is similar to crude.

Exporting natural gas is easier, although any shipments to countries without United States free-trade agreements require approval from the Energy Department.

Fallin’s home state of Oklahoma ranks No. 5 in the country in terms of oil production, behind Texas, North Dakota, California and Alaska, according to the Energy Information Administration.