Alaska GOP senator urges Obama to lift ban on U.S. oil exports

by Reuters
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:09 GMT

* U.S. law allows export of oil products, not crude

* Murkowski issued report last week

* Senator would consider legislation if Obama stalls

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to lift a ban on exporting U.S.-produced crude oil, stepping up pressure on the administration to allow producers involved in the domestic energy boom to gain access to global markets.

"Lifting the ban will help create jobs, boost the economy and keep our production at record levels," Murkowski, from Alaska and the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a letter to Obama.

While U.S. energy companies are allowed to export oil products, including gasoline and jet fuel, a presidential waiver from current laws is required to sell most unrefined crude abroad.

The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act effectively bar exports for now.

"While I believe you retain the executive authority necessary to lift the ban on crude oil exports, if you need legislative support from the Congress in order to do so, you will always have a willing partner from Alaska," Murkowski said in the letter to Obama.

Murkowski released a report in Washington last week aimed at triggering debate among lawmakers on whether the country should ease the restrictions.

The senator does not yet plan to introduce legislation to lift the ban, but she is willing to consider taking such action if the president does not act, said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Murkowski.

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