April 26, 2021

Merkley, Wyden, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Break America’s Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Ban U.S. Oil Exports

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden—alongside their colleagues U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—introduced legislation to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and reinstate the ban on exporting American crude oil and natural gas abroad.

The Block All New (BAN) Oil Exports Act would help prioritize American consumers, protect the climate, promote environmental justice, and encourage the United States to establish self-sufficiency with our energy production. U.S. crude oil exports reached a peak monthly average of 3.7 million barrels per day in February 2020, and remain near 3 million barrels per day on average in 2021.

“Oregonians watched in horror as last year’s catastrophic wildfire season claimed lives, destroyed homes and businesses, and leveled entire communities. The disturbing truth is that unless we tackle climate chaos—and rein in the fossil fuel pollution that is driving the crisis in the first place—things are only going to get worse,” said Senator Merkley, member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus. “If we want to live in a country where every human being has the chance to be safe, healthy, and thrive, we’ve got to deliver bold climate action that transitions us away from fossil fuels, and stop exporting oil.”

“Right now, the United States imports and exports millions of barrels of oil a day, perpetuating a merry-go-round of oil dependence,” said Senator Wyden, who as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee has introduced the Clean Energy for America Act to overhaul the federal energy tax code, create jobs and combat climate change. “Instead of propping up Big Oil, it’s time America makes the switch to a clean energy future, kicking our carbon habit to the curb.”

The omnibus spending bill enacted into law in December 2015 lifted the 40-year old ban that restricted exporting U.S. oil overseas. Since the ban was lifted, historic amounts of U.S. oil have gone to foreign nations.

Endorsers of this legislation include Earthworks, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and over 100 grassroots organizations.

 A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.