More than a year and a half ago, when I first started talking with folks about the need to lift the 40-year old ban on exporting crude oil, many people thought I was crazy to believe we could make it happen by the end of this year. But I kept saying if Republicans and Democrats were willing to come together and negotiate to reach a deal, we could make this commonsense policy change happen — and that’s exactly what made this announcement that supports American economic growth and national security possible.
Congress announced, and the President signed into law, a landmark, bipartisan deal — which I helped negotiate — to lift the outdated ban on exporting oil as part of an end of the year spending bill.
I have made lifting the oil export ban my top priority this Congress — well before oil prices dropped. I’m supportive of standalone legislation to lift the ban as my bill would do, but I’ve long said that to actually build strong bipartisan support to end this outdated ban, we need to reach a deal to bring along enough of my fellow Democrats.
That’s what I’ve been working to do with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska through good-faith, bipartisan education, negotiation, and legislation. It was through these steps that I was able to successfully encourage both parties to put politics aside, build bipartisan support for lifting the ban, and gain enough momentum to reach a bipartisan deal to end this nonsensical policy.
Recently, the New York Times provided a synopsis of my “quiet, persistent alliance” with Senator Murkowski that paved the way for a deal to lift the ban.
WASHINGTON - For months, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North…www.nytimes.com
Here’s a timeline of my meetings with Republican and Democratic senators and members of Congress, Senate leadership, top leaders at the White House including the President and chief of staff, and top European Union officials and diplomats, as well as the quick progression of my bipartisan bills to lift the ban and details about how a deal to end this policy came together and was signed into law.
Spoke out early about the need to lift the ban.
During my testimony at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review, a national energy strategy meeting, in Bismarck, I spoke about the need to end this antiquated policy.
Spoke about lifting the ban on exporting oil while I was a guest co-host on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
I asked John Hess, the CEO of Hess Corporation, which drilled the first oil well in the state of North Dakota in 1951, to join for part of the show during which we discussed why it just makes sense to lift the oil export ban.
I also met with Norwegian Parliament members of the Energy & Environment Committee and discussed exporting both crude oil and liquefied natural gas(among other things).
During the fall of 2014, I began making the case for lifting the ban on crude oil exports in talks and meetings with other Senate Democrats.
After election day, I asked for and started staff-level discussions on lifting the ban with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in preparation for the new Congress.
Met with the U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall about my energy priorities for the next Congress and expressed that lifting the ban on exporting oil was my top priority.
Also in December, the U.S. Commerce Department permitted the exportation of processed ultra-light oil known as condensate.
I reached out to Senator Murkowski to begin talking about crafting legislation together to lift the ban.
Led a bipartisan letter with Senator Murkowski and 19 other Senators to the U.S. Commerce Secretary about the need to allow oil swaps with Mexico.
Met with PACE, oil CEOs, some Democratic Senators, and with the Independent Petroleum Association on exporting oil.
Senator Murkowski and I spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate about the need to lift the ban.
Worked with Senator Murkowski to introduce an amendment to lift the oil export ban. The amendment was to a bill that would give Congress the ability to review any nuclear deal with Iran.
In addition, Senator Murkowski and I introduced two bipartisan, complementary bills to lift the ban.
Our bills were intended to merge after going through our committees — the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
I also put together a panel discussion for senators and staff with the Bipartisan Policy Center on the need to lift the ban on exporting crude oil —and an expert from the Energy Information Administration participated on the panel.
Introduced two amendments to the National Defense Reauthorization Act (S.Amendments 1594 and 1595) with Senator Murkowski to remove restrictions on exporting crude oil and include a sense of the U.S. Senate on presidential authority to allow the sale of domestic crude oil to U.S. allies and partners.
I guest co-hosted on CNBC’s Squawk Box again to talk about the issue. The heads of Hess Corporation, ConocoPhillips, and Continental Resources joined for parts of the show while I was guest co-hosting.
In an effort to continue educating folks on why we needed to lift the ban, I posted on Medium explaining why this is a commonsense policy, and brought together a small group of Democratic senators to talk about what a package to lift the ban on exporting crude oil might look like.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, House & Urban Affairs — which I sit on — held a hearing about my bills. Two days later the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources passed the Murkowski-Heitkamp bill, with key pieces of my bill incorporated. Senators King and Heinrich made positive statements indicating their willingness to discuss lifting the ban.
I also met with European Union Director General for Energy Dominique Ristori on crude oil and liquified natural gas exports.
Following my letter in February, the U.S. Commerce Department announced it will allow oil swaps with Mexico.
In August I also spoke with President Obama and top White House officials about the need to lift the ban on exporting crude oil.
Participated in an event hosted by National Journal on lifting the oil export ban. During the discussion, I stressed that to actually get bipartisan support to lift the ban, we would have to look at a balanced package that addresses some my — and my colleagues’ — priorities to provide long-term certainty for renewables, conservation, and other measures. And that’s what I’ve been working to do for months.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a non-partisan report saying lifting the ban would keep gasoline prices the same or lower them, and the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee passed the House bill to lift the ban.
In the meantime, I continued discussions with Democrats and Republicans about a potential deal to lift the ban, including starting individual meetings with Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich from New Mexico to discuss what a deal might look like.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, House & Urban Affairs passed my bipartisan bill to lift the ban on exporting oil. During the hearing, Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly from Indiana, Jon Tester from Montana and Mark Warner from Virginia made statements expressing that lifting the ban on exporting oil is a discussion Congress needs to have.
Before the hearing, I again made the case for my bipartisan bills on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Senator Heinrich and I continued our discussions on what a deal to lift the ban could look like. We met with Democratic leadership and other Democratic senators about a potential deal to lift the ban.
I also met with U.S. Representatives Joe Barton and Henry Cuellar about the House bill to lift the oil export ban and a potential deal, and Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Union. With Vice President Sefcovic, we focused on lifting the ban on exporting oil, exporting liquified natural gas, and the EU’s energy priorities.
Senator Heinrich and I again met with Democratic leadership to discuss how a package to lift the ban paired with Democratic priorities might work.
I also met with Jerzy Buzek, Chairman of European Parliament’s Energy Committee, about lifting the ban.
A bipartisan deal was reached and Congress passed landmark bipartisan legislation to lift the 40-year old ban on exporting oil.
My work since the summer of 2014 to carefully craft and negotiate a deal that would bring together Republican and Democrats paid off. As Congress negotiated a year-end spending bill, I worked closely with Senate leadership to include lifting the oil export ban in the bill. As a result, this deal is a win-win for North Dakota.
It paired lifting the ban with priorities — which were key to getting Democrats on board — that would provide long-term certainty for renewable energies and conservation. It included extending the Production Tax Credit to support the development of wind energy which is critical for North Dakota and an extension I’ve long pushed for. In North Dakota alone, up to 3,000 jobs were supported by the wind production industry in 2014.
Language from my bill to lift the ban on exporting oil, which passed through the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs in July, was also included in the final deal. The language from my bill would give the President the ability to impose restrictions on exporting oil, like licensing requirements, for up to one year under certain special circumstances — and if necessary, the ability to extend those requirements or restrictions annually. Some of these special circumstances include: national security threats, national emergencies, sustained crude oil shortages, and when supply shortages or price increase are likely to negatively impact employment. These provisions previously passed in the Senate Energy and Banking Committees with bipartisan support.
Lifting the oil export ban has been my top priority in Congress — but you can’t pass legislation by yourself. It was through many months and hours of educating other senators, especially Democrats, about the merits of changing this policy, and working through good-faith efforts to reach a bipartisan deal that brought enough Democrats on board so we had the votes to overturn this outdated ban on exporting oil. The facts are clear — lifting the ban is good for consumers, our economy, national security, and energy security. We have made swift progress to get to this point, and I always believed that it both sides were willing to come to the table, changing this policy this year was possible. I’m hopeful this type of true legislating paves the way for more bipartisanship in Congress which is long overdue.