Target: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
Goal: Don’t allow lifting of 40-year oil export ban.
Democrats in the Senate are considering agreeing to lift a 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports in exchange for certain concessions from Senate Republicans. The talks are taking place over the omnibus spending bill, a package of must-pass legislation that keeps funding intact for the federal government. Despite its supposed focus on the budget, the omnibus bill is often used by legislators to further agendas and bargain for items on their political wish list to be included in the package.
Senate Republicans are hoping for a big win for their friends in the oil industry this year by lifting the export ban. Democrats are considering agreeing to this risky provision in exchange for conservation and alternative energy funding as well as a bigger child care tax credit. Although these are important goals, they must not be achieved through demolishing a long-standing policy.
Lifting the ban would be equivalent to taking one step forward and two steps back. Allowing exports would mean more drilling, more emissions, and more risky transportation of crude oil. Supporters of domestic drilling in sensitive places such as the arctic have long touted local oil extraction as a way of meeting U.S. need and reducing dependence on foreign oil. There is simply no justification for extracting American oil just to ship it overseas for profit.
President Obama has expressed his disapproval for lifting the ban and encouraged Congress to focus on federal spending instead of tacking extra provisions onto the bill. As a nation, we need to continue moving beyond dirty fuels, not allow the enterprises built around them to expand further. Sign the petition below to urge Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues to stop using the oil ban as a bargaining chip in omnibus discussions.
Dear Senate Minority Leader Reid,
I am very concerned by the Senate Democrats’ likely decision to support legislation that would lift the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports. Although this move may be done with the best intentions, it will only serve in setting America back in our environmental and renewable energy goals.
A lift on the export ban would mean more drilling in sensitive areas like national parks, coastlines, and the arctic. It would also mean more emissions and greater frequency of risky crude oil transportation operations. All these negative impacts will culminate to overwhelm any environmental gains made by agreeing to this concession.
President Obama has already made his disapproval of the plan clear and I’m encouraging Senate Democrats not to allow such legislation to reach his desk. We as a country need our focus to be on progressive policies, not back room deals that take one step forward and two steps back. Please do not barter with America’s energy future and stand against lifting the ban.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jwigley