To the Editor:
Re “Oil Exports and Renewable Energy” (editorial, Dec. 15):
The United States’ ban on energy exports didn’t make sense in 1975, and makes even less sense now.
According to the Energy Information Administration report you cite, the ban saves American refiners much less than it costs American energy producers, without benefit to consumers. That net loss is the subsidy our policy provides to energy-exporting countries. The top three exporters we protect from United States competition are Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The same study shows that the ban has no effect on global oil production, so a repeal would be greenhouse emissions-neutral or better, as exported American energy would replace production from countries with weaker health, safety and environmental standards, reducing fugitive methane and other impacts.
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For as long as the world uses hydrocarbons, it is plainly in the United States’ economic, geopolitical and environmental interest to produce that energy here, with American workers and oversight, rather than subsidize hostile, less responsible regimes.
The writer is the founding chief executive of Sourcewater, a water exchange for the energy ecosystem, and was chief speechwriter at the Treasury Department, 2002-03.