Print Issue Volume 100 - Issue 2

Note: Striking Before the Well Goes Dry: Exploring if and How the United States Ban on Crude Oil Exports Should Be Lifted To Exploit the American Oil Boom

President Gerald Ford championed the adoption of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) in 1975 to promote American energy independence through the limiting of American crude oil exports. Through this law and related regulatory provisions, the federal government successfully shielded American energy interests from crises similar to the 1973 Arab oil embargo. However, the recent advent of new oil drilling technologies has resulted in a domestic oil boom and cries for the lifting of EPCA export limits to capitalize on this newfound resource. In order to resolve the growing export debate pitting oil exporters against environmentalists and energy isolationists, the federal government must make a timely decision to either utilize growing oil caches while the country still can or continue the EPCA’s framework protecting American energy security and the environment.

This Note argues that the federal government should lift the EPCA’s oil export ban in response to the current rise in domestic oil production. Part I explores the history of the EPCA and other relevant regulatory measures, how these standards regulate crude oil exports, and how questions surrounding these laws arose. Part II compares and contrasts the arguments for and against lifting the ban. Part II analyzes previously submitted government solutions to this export issue. Part III proposes that the President set new licensing rules approving crude oil exports while requiring exporters to provide fixed funding levels for renewable energy projects and meet additional environmental sustainability standards. Also, this solution suggests that the federal government promote the modification or creation of American oil refineries to better utilize domestically produced light crude oil to ensure U.S. energy independence.

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