Op-Ed: Energy Export Restrictions Keep Production in the Past

By Margo Thorning and William Shughart II

Over the past several years the United States has achieved an energy turnaround that few experts could have anticipated. Led almost singlehandedly by improvements in shale production, the country has transitioned from a position of foreign dependence to a global energy leader — bolstering American consumers, businesses and manufacturers at every turn.

Our energy transformation has been so remarkable, it has outpaced policy in Washington, which now threatens to slow the wheels of commerce. Today, restrictions on crude oil exports dating back to the 1970s have — given “tight” domestic refining capacity — created a glut of oil supplies here at home, that could disincentive further production and leave valuable energy resources to languish.

To secure continued growth, it’s time lawmakers modernize outdated energy export policies. Fortunately, with the midterm elections squarely behind us, there are signs Washington is ready to act.

Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, held a hearing last week to review the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which limits most crude oil exports. Although a growing consensus has emerged within the Capital Beltway mirroring the rest of the country’s eagerness to unshackle our global trade barriers, the hearing is the first step among members of Congress to reconsider the outdated export restrictions.

Margo Thorning is the senior vice president and chief economist of the American Council for Capital Formation and William F. Shughart II is a former Federal Trade Commission economist and a professor of economics at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Read the full op-ed at Roll Call HERE.

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