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 September 16, 2015 - 8:00 AM EDT
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USW to Congress: Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban Would Threaten America's Energy Security and Refinery Jobs

More than 100,000 Letters Nationwide Tell Congress Not to Raise Gas Prices by Lifting Ban

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers Union (USW) joins the majority of Americans who do not want Congress to lift the crude oil export ban and jeopardize America's energy security, affordable gasoline prices and booming refining sector.

United Steelworkers.

"In 1975 Congress passed the crude oil export ban because America's dependence on the Mideast for crude oil allowed Saudi Arabia to hold oil supplies hostage in retaliation for the United States' support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

"Members of Congress want to place our country in that precarious position again by lifting the crude oil export ban. Exporting crude makes no sense when our country is not energy self-sufficient, importing 44 percent of the crude that is refined in the United States.

"As Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stated in a House Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing, for every barrel of oil the U.S. would export, an additional barrel would have to be imported.  

"Does Congress want the United States to be dependent on Mideast oil producers who have the power to deny oil supplies based on political whims?"

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) strongly controls world oil prices by oversupplying or withdrawing oil supplies from the market. As a result of the crude oil export ban, U.S. refineries have access to domestic crude, which is cheaper than oil sourced overseas. This caused a loss of market share for OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia, which flooded the world market with oil in an attempt to lower oil prices and make it unprofitable for U.S. producers to drill for oil.

The oversupply of crude in the world market impacted the international, or Brent, crude oil price, and it is this price that determines the price of oil products like gasoline. U.S. consumers are enjoying the lowest price gasoline in years because of the crude oil export ban. If this ban is lifted, U.S. crude oil prices would be subject to the market actions of OPEC nations and world political, economic and weather events that cause the price of crude to soar and gasoline prices to rise.

Job loss in the U.S. refining sector and all the jobs dependent on it would result from the lifting of the crude oil export ban. The ban has allowed U.S. refineries to compete against foreign competitors with lower labor, environmental and safety standards. Lift the ban and the cost of crude oil rises for U.S. refineries, thrusting them into direct competition with refineries in China and India. The end result is the shutdown of refineries and loss of U.S. jobs.

"Our refineries in Philadelphia and Trainer, Pa., almost shut down in 2011 because they could not afford the oil sourced overseas and compete with oil product imports from foreign refineries that did not have to adhere to environmental standards, safety regulations and family-supporting wages and benefits," said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers.

"The USW, along with business leaders and elected officials, saved those refineries because of the U.S. crude oil export ban. U.S. oil production grew, and these refineries could source this low-cost supply and compete internationally. As a result, over 36,000 direct and indirect jobs and $566 million in tax revenue were saved," Beevers added.

The majority of Americans want U.S. crude oil to be used for U.S. refineries and not exported overseas. A Hart Research public opinion poll in December of 2014 revealed that a vast majority (82 percent) of voters, regardless of political affiliation, oppose allowing oil and gas companies to export more U.S. oil and gas to foreign nations. This result is bolstered by other polls.

"These polls also revealed that voters are unlikely to support representatives and senators for re-election if they lift the U.S. crude oil export ban," Gerard said.

To date, more than 100,000 letters have been sent to Congress, urging representatives and senators to not lift the ban.

"The people have spoken, and now it is time for Congress to listen to their constituents," Gerard said.

The USW is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, energy, chemicals, transportation, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments.

Contact:
Lynne Hancock, USW Communications, (o) 412-562-2442; (c) 615-828-6169; lhancock@usw.org
Roy Houseman, USW Legislative office, (o) 202-778-3312; (c) 202-288-3573;
rhouseman@usw.org

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)


Source: PR Newswire (September 16, 2015 - 8:00 AM EDT)

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