The White House said it won’t support a House of Representatives bill to repeal a 40 year old oil export ban.
According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the decision to repeal the ban should lie with Commerce Department and added that the administration would like to pursue a plan that includes renewable energy investment.
“This is a policy decision that is made over at the Commerce Department, and for that reason, we wouldn’t support legislation like the one that’s been put forward by Republicans,” Earnest told reporters.
The bill will be voted on by the House’s energy committee on Thursday and may come up for a vote in the next few weeks.
While the repeal is expected to survive a House vote the bill faces opposition in the Senate.
Republican supporters of the bill would need votes from at least six Democrats to move past any roadblocks, Reuters noted.
The Senate energy panel approved a similar bill to the lift the export ban in July, but that effort garnered no support from Senate democrats.
The American Petroleum Institute, an energy industry group, urged the White House to reconsider its stance, arguing the ban stifles economic growth and undermines energy security.
“Failing to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports could throw away a major opportunity to build U.S. energy security and generate significant savings for consumers, according to numerous major economic analysis — including the administration’s own report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said.
The ban on exporting crude began during the Arab oil embargo with the passage of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 1975.
Crude exported from Alaska’s Cook Inlet, crude produced at certain California fields, crude being transported through the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline and crude being shipped to Canada for domestic consumption is exempt from the ban.
There is no ban on exporting refined products such as diesel and gasoline.