Gardner Gets Weasely On Crude Oil Exports

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

A news hit for Colorado’s junior Sen. Cory Gardner from the trade journal Hellenic Shipping News, a story titled Oil Producers Face Skeptical Congress in Drive to End Export Ban:

Coming into this year, it seemed that the time was right to overturn a ban on exporting U.S. crude oil: Republicans controlled Congress, production was nearing an all-time high and gasoline was falling toward $2 a gallon.

Despite a lobbying push by drillers, and steep job losses in the oil fields, there’s been no significant effort in Congress to lift the 40-year-old ban. Even the Senate’s top advocate for the idea hasn’t proposed legislation…

The reason for the go-slow approach is wariness among lawmakers that they’d be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the ban is lifted. And the oil industry itself is split, with some refiners, who benefit from low prices, opposed to lifting the ban. Oil produced domestically is selling for about $9 less than the global benchmark.

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which Sen. Gardner serves, held a hearing on the subject of lifting the ban on crude oil exports. Going into the hearing, Gardner was reportedly “undecided” about whether to support lifting the ban, but his reported comments certainly indicate where he’s leaning:

Two members of the panel, Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who often sides with Republicans on energy issues, and Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, said they were still undecided on the issue.

Gardner said it may make sense to sense to send some of the light sweet crude produced from shale rock formations overseas, because U.S. refiners along the Gulf Coast can better handle heavier crudes. [Pols emphasis]

Sounds pretty supportive to us! And an energy industry press release after yesterday’s hearing praises Gardner’s “insightful question” that teed up the industry’s argument perfectly:

“Colorado Senator Cory Gardner asked an insightful question yesterday about what happens if we don’t lift the ban,” said Eberhart. “We will have a glut of crude with nowhere to go.  Oil and gas companies will no longer have an incentive to keep producing, so we’ll start losing jobs. The current shale boom has helped create 1.7 million of them.”

Consumers are plowing their savings from cheap gasoline right back into the economy all around the country, helping boost economic growth. The full reasons for the current rock-bottom price of oil are more complicated than simply the “shale revolution,” most importantly the price war initiated by foreign oil producers intended to make North American shale production from “fracking” unprofitable. The industry wants a “price floor” to ensure their operations remain profitable, and the ability to export crude oil would raise prices at least by the difference between the American and global market price–and possibly much more, depending on what OPEC does.

And once the price of oil starts going up again as it surely will, American consumers would feel the pain even more. This is where politicians with the authority to decide these questions must face the hard reality of choosing between their oh-so friendly allies and donors in the energy industry…and the rest of the economy.

Gardner may pay lip service to being deliberative about this, but where he’ll land in the end is unfortunately a foregone conclusion.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Claa warfare!

    I’ll save modster the trouble. Why do liberals hate America? Class warfare! Benghazi!

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    Saudi Arabia sees End of Oil Age coming. To quote their own oil minister, “we didn’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones”…  As to the comment on his ‘thoughtful question’, I’d liken it to calculating how much each completed pass costs an NFL team; just how much do each of these [scripted] thoughtful questions cost the industry?  Capitol Hill is nothing more than a very expensive, modern-day Kabuki theater performance.

  3. taterheaptom says:

    So the idea that consumers may have to pay more due to some additional pollution control or regulation is just over-the-top unacceptable, but intentionally forcing them to pay more by exporting oil and thus–the hope is–tightening supply, in order to maximize multinational profits… AOK with the conman.

    Need a used tractor?  Only driven once a week by a little old farmer from Nearly Nebraska.  

  4. Moderatus says:

    Thanks for proving again that you want to put Coloradans out of work. Why shouldn’t we sell our oil on the world market? I would gladly pay a few extra cents a gallon for liberty.

    • BlueCat says:

      One more time. Show your work.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Moderatus wrote: “why shouldn’t we sell our oil on the world market?” Dude: it would be helpful for your credibility with the liberals around here if you actually did some homework. The world is awash in unneeded oil at this time. Supertanker owners are making big bucks using their ships for storage. The US exists in a world market for energy. The Saudis and a few of their friends; not really USA’s friends; are still pumping at a high rate to make it unprofitable to produce the higher cost shale oil here in the US. You’re advocating that the US sell into that market.   C.H.B.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        And lose money dumping oil for less than it’s worth.  He wants to say it is a good deal so then we need to build Keystone so that Canadians can condemn American farms through eminent domain for a foreign corporation.  What an American.  Not!

      • taterheaptom says:

        Modera-troll advocates for a market of more, not less, foreign entanglement.  Longer more exposed, not more secure, ‘supply lines.’  What it really means is “I would gladly do whatever I am told to, support whatever I am told to, believe whatever I am told to, despite any and all evidence to the contrary.  For I am a conservative troll.” 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Who knew that liberty came in a gallon size? Thanks for sharing.

    • DaninDen says:

      “gladly pay a few extra cents” That’s rich, considering conservatives balk at a road use tax increase to repair failing infrastructure which would most definitely employ Coloradans. 2.) You don’t own any oil. Multinationals own it, along with wimp politicians who give them tax breaks.  

    • Duke Cox says:

      “our”oil…?

      Will the companies share the profits with me?

      Do you actually know who the owners of these companies are?

      You WILL NOT BENEFIT from a change in this policy…

      YOU will pay higher prices for gasoline and every other product derived from petroleum…

      You are truly an idiot …

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