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Oil group launches ads hitting crude export ban

Oil group launches ads hitting crude export ban
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The oil industry’s top trade group is hitting the airwaves to promote legislation ending the ban on crude oil exports. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is launching television ads in 12 states and the District of Columbia this week calling on Congress to pass a bill allowing crude oil exports for the first time since the 1970s. 

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API released two ads, one noting the support for lifting the ban from newspapers and labor unions around the country and another saying it would be important for national security. 

“Who loves the ban on U.S. crude oil exports? Iran and Russia, not exactly our best friends,” that ad says.

“Lifting the ban would increase domestic oil production, and that strengthens our national security. With America’s energy boom, our allies don’t have to rely on energy from Iran and Russia.”

The ad buy — which an API spokesman described as “significant” — comes as the U.S. House begins debating legislation to lift the ban this fall. 

A House Committee will consider a bill from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) on Thursday to end the ban, something endorsed by most members of GOP leadership. 

In the Senate, members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to lift the ban in August. 

“We’re speaking directly to the consumers and workers who will benefit from lifting these outdated trade restrictions,” said Louis Finkel, API’s executive vice president for government affairs. 

“The House and Senate are considering bipartisan legislation to lift the ban, and it’s important to share the facts on how free trade in oil could create new jobs, put downward pressure on fuel costs, and strengthen our energy security.”

Environmental groups, some oil refiners and many Democrats oppose lifting the ban, arguing that, among other things, it would increase oil consumption and prices in the United States. 

Boosters of ending the ban say that’s not true, pointing to a federal report on gas prices that came out last week.