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 Ann MurkowskiGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration GOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees Senate votes to extend key funding mechanism for parks MORE (R-Alaska) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction 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 Jeffrey MonizWhat we learned from the first Green New Deal Overnight Energy: GOP pushes back on climate | 2018 was fourth hottest year on record | Park Service reverses on using fees Pompeo: Kerry's conversations with Iran 'unseemly and unprecedented' 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