The Senate’s Banking Committee considered legislation today from North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp which would have lifted the nearly 40-year ban on American crude oil exports. The committee voted 13-9 to advance the bill to the floor.
In remarks after the committee vote, Sen. Warner indicated he would have supported lifting the oil export ban if it was part of a more comprehensive energy package.
Senator Warner’s prepared below:
First, let me thank my good friend from North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp. She has been a tireless advocate on this issue and I am grateful for her leadership.
As many in this room know, energy markets are hard to predict. If you would have told me ten years ago that our country would have access to the reserves we have today, I would have been skeptical-yet here we are.
The ban on crude oil exports will celebrate its 40th birthday this December, and I think it is well past time that our energy policies reflect our new resources.
While I believe there are strong arguments to lifting the ban on crude oil exports, I think we are at an unique time where we can think about ways to incorporate measures into a larger package.
We should put metrics in place that ensure open markets and long term growth for our domestic energy industry. Many of us in this room can agree that the government’s role here should not interfere with the opportunity for global competition; however, both sides have to be willing to give a little.
The decisions of our federal leaders and policymakers will in large part, decide whether we maximize the opportunity that is in front of us or have it pass us by, which is why I am not supporting this legislation today.
I believe we could incorporate similar language to the text we are voting on today, along with other provisions of priority that may address our fiscal issues as well. This would, in large part, increase the chances of a bill passing on the floor and being signed into law by the President.
It is important that we keep an open mind on how this issue moves forward, because if we do not take advantage of the opportunity to have a thoughtful debate and discussion around what tradeoffs could go along with changing this policy, as it may be years before the chance comes around again.
Again Mr. Chairman, I thank you and the Senator from North Dakota for your work towards making this markup possible today and remain committed to seeing our energy industries benefit from open U.S. markets with the right criteria in place.