GOP chairwoman to sponsor bill to lift oil export ban

GOP chairwoman to sponsor bill to lift oil export ban
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Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (R-Alaska) said she will introduce a bill this year to end the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil.

Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told energy executives Monday that the ban is severely holding U.S. producers back, Reuters reported.

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“It’s time to lift America’s ban on crude oil exports,” Murkowski said at CERAWeek, a conference in Houston.

“We shouldn’t lift sanctions on Iranian oil while we are keeping restrictions on American oil. It just doesn't make sense," she added, according to the news service.

Murkowski has long called for President Obama to relax the ban, saying he can declare that exports to certain countries be allowed. The U.S. currently exports oil to Canada, for example.

She suggested allowing exports to Mexico and NATO allies like Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has sponsored legislation in the House to lift the ban.

Many Democrats and environmentalists want to keep the ban in place. They fear that lifting it could significantly increase energy prices domestically or induce demand for oil.