crude oil export ban

Groups Call On Obama To End Crude Oil Exports In Wake Of Paris Climate Agreement Signing

Read time: 4 mins

175 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement last Friday, setting a record for the most countries to sign a U.N. agreement on opening day.

Earlier in the week, even before Secretary of State John Kerry officially signed on behalf of the U.S. with his granddaughter in his lap, more than 300 environmental, faith, health and social justice organizations filed a legal petition calling on the Obama Administration to declare a national emergency and end all U.S. crude oil exports as a means of meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

According to the groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch, President Obama could immediately halt the export of crude oil under executive legal authority granted to him by the 2016 Appropriations Act and the National Emergencies Act.

Rice University’s Baker Institute and the Academic Cover It Provides for Fossil Fuel Interests

Read time: 16 mins

When thinking about influential academic policy think tanks, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy doesn’t necessarily come first to mind. Slowly and steadily, however, the institute has turned into one of the nation’s most powerful outfits. In the 2009 “Global Think Tank Index Report,” a comprehensive yearly ranking by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Society’s Program, the institute was ranked 37th amongst top US think tanks. By last year’s rankings, it was up to number 18. Significantly, on the specific list Top Energy and Resource Policy Think Tanks, the institute was already ranked 4th in the country.

Boasting $9.9 million in revenue in 2015 alone, the institute is located in the heart of Rice’s campus, housed in an impressive redbrick columned edifice that mixes classic beaux arts elements and byzantine ornamentation.

Lifting The Crude Oil Export Ban Isn’t Big Oil’s Only Christmas Gift

Read time: 3 mins

This is a guest post by Lukas Ross from Friends of the Earth.

The champagne corks could be heard from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday night, as Paul Ryan announced that Big Oil’s number one priority would indeed make it into a year-end bargain on taxes and spending.

The lifting of the crude oil export ban, sought by the oil lobby, the GOP and more than a few Democrats, is a major win for the industry. The measure could mean $170 billion in new revenue for oil producers over the next decade, as companies are able to push domestic crude onto the global market where it fetches a higher price.

Anti-Fracking Activists Speak out Against Lifting the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

Read time: 4 mins

Americans Against Fracking held an emergency conference call the day after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan revealed the new spending bill would remove the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil, if passed.

About 100 people, many of them affiliated with environmental advocacy groups, joined in on the call, and ideas were shared on what can be done to prevent oil exports from proceeding without restrictions again.

To lift the crude oil export ban flies in the face of climate progress less than a week after the United Nations Paris Agreement,” the group stated. Some felt hoodwinked because when they headed off to Paris, they believed President Obama would veto any bill that included lifting the ban. That no longer seems to be the case. 

Top Three Myths Used to Sell the Lifting of the Crude Oil Export Ban, A Climate and Security Disaster In The Making

Read time: 5 mins

It can be difficult to win an argument when you have no viable position. However, when you are the oil industry, you can just buy the win. Which is what the oil industry is poised to do regarding the lifting of the crude oil export ban.

The GOP is currently holding up Congressional action needed to avoid a government shutdown by demanding inclusion of the lifting of the crude oil export ban in the government spending package.

Here are some of the disingenuous arguments the oil industry has paid to have members of Congress make over the past two years.

Democrats Ignoring Climate Implications of Lifting Oil Export Ban - “We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too”

Read time: 5 mins

Jason Bordoff wants to lift the oil export ban and has been actively working on this for the past two years. Which is odd if you believe that President Obama is against lifting the ban as the White House claims. Prior to Bordoff’s work to lift the oil export ban at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), he was special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change.

So why is Obama’s former senior director on climate change pushing a policy that will greatly increase fracking in America as well as global oil consumption for decades? The carbon and methane pollution consequences of this for climate change are plainly obvious.

Perhaps Bordoff had a change of heart since leaving the administration? If so he has plenty of company. For the past two years, many former Obama administration officials have joined Republicans in calling for a lifting of the export ban.

Ivy League Universities Pushing Oil Industry Agenda With No Accountability

Read time: 10 mins
Columbia CGEP Oil Export Debate

Harold Hamm isn’t the kind of guy you’d expect to be name dropping Ivy League schools. Born in Oklahoma, his education ended with his graduation from high school. Which didn’t stop him from becoming a multi-billionaire by building his own oil and gas fracking company, Continental Resources — a company that bills itself as “America’s Oil Champion.”

So for a self-made man from oil country, it wasn’t surprising to see a PowerPoint slide with the bullet points “Rigs, Rednecks, and Royalties” during his presentation this June at the annual Energy Information Administration conference in Washington, D.C. Although when he referred to the oil producing sections of the U.S. as “Cowboyistan” it didn’t get the laugh he was probably expecting.

Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban: Daniel Yergin and the Anatomy of an Industry Public Relations Push

Read time: 11 mins
Daniel Yergin

This is a historic turning point,” said Daniel Yergin. “The defining force now in world oil today is the growth of U.S. production.”

That quote is from an article from November 2014 in the New York Times, which described Daniel Yergin as an “energy historian.” As the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Prize, which BusinessWeek called “the best history of oil ever written,” it is a technically accurate but largely incomplete description of Yergin.

While Yergin has written about the history of oil and power, he is now also a major player in the game and is using this power to help shape history rather than just report on it. And, of course, to personally profit from these efforts.

At Super Bowl of Energy, Industry Fixates On Expanded Fracking and Lifting Oil Export Ban

Read time: 6 mins

We have done more as an industry to advance the cause of raising living standards across the world than any other industry I can think of…” 

If the first industry you think of when you read that statement is “the oil industry” then you were probably in attendance at CERAweek in Houston in late April, an annual gathering known as the Super Bowl of Energy.

Public Interest Groups File FOIA Request To Compel Disclosure Of Crude Oil Export Ban Exceptions

Read time: 3 mins

Last month, DeSmogBlog broke the news that the Obama Administration was quietly letting oil companies export crude under the guise of “exceptions” to the crude oil export ban.

Now a coalition of public interest groups including Earthjustice, Oil Change International, and Sightline Institute says the public has a right to know what criteria the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) used in determining which crude oil streams were exempt from the ban, and has filed a Freedom Of Information Act request to find out.

With the price of oil cratering and that trend not likely to reverse soon thanks in large part to the glut of production in the US, oil companies are desperate to sell their crude on the global market, where it can potentially fetch higher prices. The catch, of course, is the crude oil export ban, a policy that’s been in place since 1975.

The oil industry has apparently decided that its usual means of influencing public policy—lobbying and advertising to sway public opinion in its favor—would take too much time and money, as Justin Mikulka wrote here on DeSmog.

So if you are the oil industry, you innovate. You call the oil you are producing condensate, get the regulators at the little known Bureau of Industry and Security to agree to not define what condensate actually is and then have them tell you that you as an industry are free to “self classify” your oil as condensate and export it.

Problem solved. Billions in profits made.

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