South Carolina stands to gain considerable leverage in the near future if Congress lifts the current ban on U.S. crude oil exports.
"Right now it seems ludicrous for the United States to have an exports ban considering all of the benefits it could bring to this country and the state of South Carolina,” U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (ret.) William L. Schachte Jr. told Palmetto Business Daily today.
Currently, congressional proponents of lifting a 1975 ban on U.S. crude oil exports are busy on Capitol Hill seeking support ahead of expected votes this fall in both the House and Senate. Lobbyists for the powerful oil and gas industry saw their efforts buoyed in August when Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced support for ending the exports restrictions.
“The Iranians are making billions of dollars without having an exports ban,” Schachte, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina and a chairman of Vets4Energy, said. “To have the ban lifted in the U.S. would almost be like us joining the world, I think.”
Schachte supports a Senate bill introduced this spring called the Southern Atlantic Energy Security Act, S. 1279, which is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers that includes Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
Schachte says the bill would boost the state’s economy and strengthen U.S. national security by allowing South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia to share the revenue generated from offshore energy development.
By 2035, he said, the bill could bring 35,000 jobs to South Carolina and could provide $2.7 billion in new state funds.
In fact, South Carolina is among America’s top 25 states that the American Petroleum Institute said could gain more than 4,000 jobs each in 2020 from exports of U.S. crude oil. Another advantage, according to API, is that the state could reap upwards of $650 million in estimated income contribution by 2020.
Additionally, said Schachte -- himself a Vietnam combat veteran -- increased domestic crude oil production “would keep U.S. military men and women out of the countries who hate us anyway.”
The ban is also outdated now since originally being implemented in response to an oil embargo by members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries to protect U.S. citizens from energy pricing setbacks in the 1970s, proponents say.
And according to a just-released report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the removal of current restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports would not change and may in fact slightly reduce petroleum product prices in the U.S.
Today the U.S. is actually experiencing a domestic crude production boom and is producing increasing volumes of oil that could be sold to foreign buyers, thus further increasing production and new investment.
“All of this is leading us to energy independence,” Schachte told Palmetto Business Daily.