Backed by letters and petitions from more than 10,000 U.S. oil refinery workers, Steelworkers President Leo Gerard argued strongly on July 28 for keeping U.S. crude oil in the U.S.
He ran into a buzzsaw of opposition, from the Senate’s ruling Republicans, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of oil-rich North Dakota, and the other witnesses at the Senate Banking Committee hearing, called to discuss schemes to let the U.S. export its crude – and reimport refined oil.
The solons are considering proposals to lift the 1975 ban on export of crude oil produced in the U.S. The ban, enacted just after the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, was an attempt to help the U.S. become more energy self-sufficient. The other witnesses claim the ban failed.
Those witnesses – two oil-state senators, an oil company executive, and a speaker for the right wing American Enterprise Institute -- all advocated the crude oil exports. So did an ex-GOP Bush administration Defense Department official. She said it would help national security.
That left Gerard, with occasional help from Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., standing up to the fusillade of pro-export testimony.
“We’re not energy self-sufficient yet,” Gerard warned. “We need to take care of America first,” he declared.More ...