Nuclear Deal Favors Iran Producers Over American

by Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs on July 30, 2015 - 8:42am

With the recent agreement between Iran and a coalition of the U.S., European allies, Russia and China aimed at delaying Iran’s nuclear weapons capability, President Obama is poised to put the finishing touches on his foreign policy legacy. In return for closer international inspections of nuclear facilities, Iran would enjoy a significant easing of economic sanctions, including the resumption of oil sales on the world market.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, a 1970’s-era law, passed in reaction to the Arab oil embargo, remains in place. Based on the idea that oil is scare, the law prevents American oil producers from exporting crude oil. This puts the President in a unique position of helping Iranian producers while keeping American producers at a disadvantage.

Export Support

There’s nothing in the Iranian deal that prevents Iran from using the proceeds from oil sales to arm Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Meanwhile in the U.S., allowing oil exports would create between 359,000 and 964,000 new jobs while adding between $73 billion and $134 billion to  GDP and saving American consumers about $391 annually, according to IHS.

Despite the benefit to the entire U.S. economy, not just to the oil and natural gas industry, there are many who still operate under the notion that U.S. oil is a scare commodity that must be hoarded. The reality is that because of horizontal drilling and advanced hydraulic fracturing technology developed in America, the U.S. has overtaken both Saudi Arabia and Russia and is now the number one oil and natural gas producing nation.

We as a nation have the opportunity to use our energy resources strategically. American exports would lessen Russia’s stranglehold  on European energy and neutralize its aggression toward its neighbors. We can help shield the world from price shocks caused by Middle Eastern instability. In the words of Leon Panetta, America’s abundance of oil and natural gas enables the United States to be not only the great arsenal of democracy, but also the great arsenal of energy.

Western Energy Alliance supports legislation co-sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Heidi Heitkamp to lift the export ban. We urge other lawmakers to say yes to American producers, just as the President is saying yes to Iran.

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