When an energy bill is introduced in Congress that promises an epic change in the global balance of power, it’s natural that lawmakers, media, and everyday people will debate its merits.
And the repeal of the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil represents such a bill.
The ban has been in place since the 1970s, when the U.S. suffered a devastating oil embargo courtesy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The embargo instilled fears about U.S. energy dependency and OPEC’s power as a “swing producer,” able to manipulate global petroleum supplies and prices at will. By December 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a ban on most U.S. energy exports that remains in place today.