The end-of-year budget deal passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama contains a provision that repeals the 40-year-old ban on the export of crude oil. Politicians beholden to oil companies gained this stunning giveaway to the world's richest corporations through last-minute, behind-closed-doors political horse-trading because it's such a terrible idea that it could never have passed on its own.
If oil companies continue to get their way, lifting the ban will increase domestic oil production by more than 3 million barrels a day, according to a recent estimate by the Center for American Progress. As a result the United States would sacrifice more than 100 square miles of land a year to drilling and oil infrastructure and face risks from the annual transport of enough oil to fill 4,500 fire-prone rail tank cars.
Our planet would also suffer the release of more than 500 million tons of additional carbon pollution per year. That's equivalent to building about 135 dirty coal-fired power plants or putting 100 million new passenger cars on the road.
Fortunately the bill preserves a straightforward way to prevent all this: President Obama can declare a national emergency and prohibit exports for a one-year period, which can be renewed indefinitely.
December 26, 2015 Action Alert ID# 315
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