Barton on crude oil exports

Congressman Joe Barton.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Chairman Emeritus and senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following opening statement Thursday at the Subcommittee on Energy and Power markup of HR 702, a bill to adapt to changing crude oil markets.

Below is the statement Rep. Barton submitted in writing for the record:

"Mr. Chairman, I want to express my gratitude to you and to all those who have been working on this legislation. As of this morning we had 125 bipartisan cosponsors from across the country representing 39 states.

This is a rare breed of legislation—one with endorsements from the Blue Dog Coalition and the Republican Study Committee; business and labor leaders; east coast, west coast, and Texans. I want to thank those groups that have written letters of support and worked to educate this Congress and the public on the importance of this issue over the past few months. The broad support we have today shows that this is not just an oil patch issue, but an issue of national importance.

This is really a simple issue to me – we have an abundance of crude oil production, our refineries are running at near capacity, our storage is at record highs, and our producers are slowing or stopping production because they are captive to the domestic market. This is not good for our economy.

9.8 million Americans are directly or indirectly employed by the oil and gas industry, making it one of the largest employers in the U.S. When oil patch jobs dry up, so do jobs all along the supply chain. And when jobs dry up, revenue to state, local and federal coffers dry up.

Lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports this year would create jobs in all 50 states and increase tax revenue upwards of $13.5 billion in 2020. These are high-paying jobs throughout the supply chain that contribute significantly to the U.S. economy and provide investment growth for millions of Americans.

When we vote on the Iranian nuclear deal this month, we will be voting to lift sanctions on a designated state sponsor of terrorism. In 2011, Iran's revenue from oil and gas exports topped $118 billion, accounting for 50-60% of total government revenue. When this Congress is presented with the opportunity to vote for American crude oil exports which will benefit our own constituents and boost our own GDP, I hope my colleagues will make the right decision and allow their fellow citizens those same freedoms.

Nations are begging the U.S. to lift the ban on oil exports. As the Ambassador from the Czech Republic stated in testimony before this committee: "U.S. energy exports would send a strong signal to the world community that democracies stick together."

I look forward to working with my colleagues as we move to full committee and to the House floor. Let's preserve this rare breed."