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Editorial: Allowing US oil exports is shortsighted

Having access to oil is critical to the United States. It is, in fact, a matter of national security.

Yet, old fashioned greed has clouded judgment as Congress, as part of its budget agreement, is lifting crude oil export restrictions that have effectively banned most sales of U.S. crude oil abroad.

The price of crude oil has plummeted around the world. As a result, Big Oil isn’t making as much money as it was. Therefore, as a way to further boost profits Big Oil worked over Congress to allow it to export oil.

It was not long ago, which is why the export ban was in place, that the U.S. was being held hostage by foreign oil. It was reasoned that if the U.S. could boost its domestic production, which has happened, then it would be a step toward energy independence.

The Wall Street Journal reported that more than a dozen independent oil companies have lobbied Congress to lift the ban on oil exports for nearly two years, arguing that unfettered oil exports would eliminate market distortions and stimulate the U.S. economy.

Related: Oil up after U.S. crude stocks drop, still close to multi-year lows

Lawmakers representing oil-producing states, such as North Dakota and Alaska, have been working to convince their colleagues to back oil exports and allay fears they will be blamed if gasoline prices were to rise.

If the price of gas goes up — no, make that when it goes up — the American people will blame Congress. And they should.

The oil companies have had record profits year after year on the backs of consumers who were paying $4 a gallon for gas. The companies are thinking only about profits, not the good of the nation.

There is only so much oil in the ground (or the shale) and when it’s gone, it’s gone. The U.S. would be wise to retain its supply for the future.

But the current dip in oil prices has resulted in amnesia regarding the grip of foreign oil. Democrats and Republicans made a deal that will boost oil profits.

Democrats will no longer object to lifting crude oil export restrictions if Republicans drop their opposition to lengthy extensions of the solar and wind tax credits that will result in more renewable energy projects.

This political horse trade clearly has some advantages for the Democrats and Republicans involved, but at some point in the future we fear it will come back to bite America.

This article was from Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.