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America Should Exploit the Advantages of Domestic Oil Production, Not Give Them Away

July 30, 2014

Energy independence has been a high-level policy goal for the United States for more than 40 years, ever since the oil embargo of 1973 exposed our vulnerability to foreign producers and crippled the American economy.

Thanks to decades of federal investment in drilling technology and public policies designed to incentivize oil exploration and production, the United States is now the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas liquids, and our energy security has never been better.

U.S oil production surged from 5 million barrels a day in 2008 to a projected 8.5 million barrels a day in 2014, with even higher figures estimated for 2015. The foreign share of imported liquid fuels consumed in the United States has fallen from 60% in 2005 to 33% in 2013, with a further decline to 22% expected by 2015.

But major oil-producing firms and their congressional allies want to squander the benefits of this impressive achievement and endanger our energy and economic security by lifting the decades-old ban on exporting crude oil.

The AFL-CIO is opposed to expanding exports of crude oil. America should never again be held hostage to foreign oil suppliers, and with tensions in the Middle East higher than they have been in decades, moving now to lift the ban on exporting crude oil is foolhardy and dangerous.

Our energy security and our economy would be well-served by refusing to allow those seeking expanded oil exports to generate private profit no matter the potentially disastrous consequences for the American people. We can and should meet the nation’s demand for liquid fuels from domestic sources. The surge in U.S. oil production should fuel a surge in U.S. refinery investment, creating highly paid construction and refinery jobs.

American ingenuity and hard work have put the United States in the fortunate position of being the world’s top oil producer and given us more energy security than we have had in decades. The AFL-CIO believes the nation should build on this success to create prosperity and restore the middle class.

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