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Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska wants to end the US crude oil export ban

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold hearings next Thursday to hear from witnesses in favor and against new rules to relax restrictions on American exports of crude oil.

The senate panel is headed Ron Wyden, D-Ore..

Export licenses are generally handled by the Commerce Department.

The senate committee wants to understand how relaxing export restrictions would impact  consumers.

Witnesses Thursday are scheduled to include Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources — a major producer of Bakken crude in North Dakota.

Another witness will be energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe of the University of California.

Others include Daniel Weiss from the Center for American Progress and Graeme Burnett from Delta Air Lines.

“Policymakers are under growing pressure from major business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, to lift the ban. But the [Obama]  administration has not yet responded publicly to the increasing calls,’ the National Journal said.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an updated energy policy report this month, said the Commerce Department should grant licenses to companies seeking to export crude to World Trade Organization member countries,” the report said.

Pro-export Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said the Commerce Department has the authority to relax export limits. She said she’ll ” introduce legislation if the administration doesn’t act,” the National Journal reported.

Backers of crude exports say U.S. oil production has grown so much because of the shale boom that the 1970s-era export ban is now unnecessary and is holding back development of the U.S. oil and gas industry.

Opponents argue that lifting the ban could drive up prices and hurt consumers, the National Journal said.