Congressman John Garamendi’s Statement on Crude Oil Export Ban Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), Ranking Member of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, voted against the bill to allow unfettered foreign exports of American domestic crude oil. Garamendi stood in strong support of one provision of the bill, which would preserve the sixty-ship Maritime Security Program (MSP) fleet essential to our national defense. Yet overall, the bill represents a shocking break from precedent by not requiring the crude oil to be transported on U.S.-flag vessels.
“With this bill, the oil companies win and the American people lose,” said Garamendi. “Selling American crude overseas will create big profits for the oil industry, which wasn’t willing to cut into its projected $29 billion in additional earnings to ensure our U.S. Merchant Marine would also be allowed to flourish. What’s more, the bill would harm American jobs in the domestic refining industry, and could even raise prices for gasoline and jet fuel here at home.”
Garamendi outlined amendments for the bill that would have required the use of American ships and mariners, protected domestic refining jobs, and safeguarded everyday Americans against higher fuel prices, but these amendments were not taken up because of strong opposition from the oil industry.
Garamendi’s plan would have:
· Enhanced American national security by adopting provisions requiring the use of American ships and crews whenever the U.S. exports crude oil
· Protected the Jones Act, which requires domestic shipments of crude oil to use American ships and crews
· Protected the existing provision of law requiring the use of American ships and crews whenever the U.S. exports Alaskan North Slope crude oil
· Allowed the Secretary of Commerce to halt exports of crude oil if such exports have a negative effect on domestic oil prices, oil supply, or refinery capacity
“If we are to export crude oil, it must be in a way that improves our national security, provides jobs for American mariners, and promotes our domestic shipbuilding industry,” continued Garamendi. “As written, this bill has no future. It will not be signed into law until it includes provisions that are truly in the national interest. I will continue to develop commonsense policies to improve our security and support the American worker.”
Garamendi also has concerns about the environmental impact of the legislation. “This is likely to be a signature piece of energy legislation passed by this Congress,” he said. “It ought to have provisions to support the use of renewable fuels and minimize environmental impact.”
Garamendi has made it a priority on his subcommittee to ensure that American energy exports are carried on American ships. He has been a longtime champion for promoting the use of American ships whenever the U.S. exports Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), which will further national security interests by promoting maritime readiness.