Progress on Banning the Ban


Last week the U.S. Senate’s Energy Committee “narrowly passed a bill to lift a 40-year-old ban on the export of crude oil.”

It’s the depth of summer, so the vote didn’t get much press in New Mexico, or anywhere else. But it was a major victory for what The Washington Post called “a simple policy that would spur economic growth, lower gas prices and please international allies.”

The Wall Street Journal agrees, explaining that the majority of the nation’s refineries were “built to process heavy crude that the U.S. has long imported from the likes of Venezuela and Mexico. But most U.S. drillers are producing light, sweet crude. Refiners are slowly retooling to handle more U.S. crude, but record amounts of oil are still piling up in storage.”

Among the states, New Mexico ranks fifth in onshore petroleum production. The Land of Enchantment’s contribution to the nation’s oil supply has risen every year since 2007.

New Mexico’s two senators have been conspicuously silent about where they stand on oil exports. Rep. Steve Pearce is backing a similar ban-the-ban bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. The lower chamber’s measure has over 100 co-sponsors, including 13 Democrats, but Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rep. Ben Ray Luján are not on board.

With the price of crude sagging and layoffs occurring in New Mexico’s oilfields, lifting the export ban is key to preserving, and expanding, petroleum production in the state. It’s unfortunate that the congressional delegation can’t unify behind a policy that is unambiguously good for New Mexico’s economy.

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9 Replies to “Progress on Banning the Ban”

  1. I totally disagree with your approval of this bill. If New Mexico ranks fifth in onshore petroleum production, why is it that the poverty rate is so high, why is it that our educational system cannot meet the needs of our children? We don’t need to expand petroleum production in our state. Most New Mexicans do not see the benefits of it but only the harm that it causes. We need to expand solar and wind energy production. We have to start working to solve the problems of climate warming that oil production has definitely contributed to. I am pleased that Reps. Grisham and Lujan are not on board.

    1. Oil and gas are about the only thing outside of the federal government that keep our state out of abject poverty. I do agree with you that we need to diversify New Mexico’s economy, but it won’t happen overnight.

      Now, in terms of global warming, I think a modern, wealthy, prosperous economy can cope with its impacts. Besides, oil in particular is not a big source of electricity. Wind and solar really don’t do much for our cars.

      1. Global warming is a lie. It just isn’t there. Instead get ready for another hard winter. Besides, CO2 is what makes plants grow. Without it we all die

    2. What will you say when we freeze to death in the dark because we don’t have electricity?
      I have tried both solar and wind and as far as they go that fine. Trouble is they can’t get out of the driveway and never will.

        1. As long as they are a result of market forces and not government mandates or market-rigging, I’m fine with that.

  2. Petro fuel burning automobiles are of obsolete technology. Technology that has existed for 130 years and the only reason it has not changed is because the industry has proven to be a cash earner. Fuel sales in the U.S. alone exceed $250 Billion per day. From my perspective that is a major expense because I’m on the paying end of the transaction. Polluting the air we all breathe is another added cost to contemporary petro burning automobiles. Route a 2-1/2 flex hose into the cabin of your car and notice how quickly the climate changes. The carbon monoxide produced by your engine will quickly terminate your life.

    1. Electric cars are not environmentally-benign either. The batteries require rare earth minerals and significant mining operations. Electricity generation also generates pollution. Petroleum-fueled cars won out 130 years ago because Henry Ford’s internal combustion technology was better than Edison’s electric car. That situation has held for a long time, but it may not hold in the future.

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