Allied Progress Calls Sen. Bennet Out for Opening Door to Potential Deal on Crude Oil Export Ban

“The people of Colorado shouldn’t be getting the raw end of Sen. Bennet’s bad deal with big oil.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Allied Progress – the recently launched organization that has been running a nearly week-long ad campaign in Colorado and four other states urging Senators to oppose repeal of the crude oil export ban – released a statement taking Colorado Senator Michael Bennet to task for opening the door to a “compromise” that would effectively end the 40-year old policy.

This morning Politico reported Sen. Bennet would be open to making a deal on repeal of the crude oil export ban that “includes measures on renewable energy and climate change.” The article went on to quote his spokesperson as saying, “[Bennet] believes it would have to be part of a more comprehensive plan that includes steps to address climate change and give the country and the world a more sustainable energy future.”

“Big oil’s lobbyists must be working overtime. How else do you explain why a sitting U.S. Senator would be willing to trade an uncertain energy future of higher gas prices and Middle Eastern oil dependence for a few vaguely defined promises? It wasn’t that long ago that Coloradans were paying $4 per gallon for gas or close to it. We should keep that in mind before adding this sort of risk to an already volatile gas market.” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress. He continued, “Sen. Bennet has been a champion for working people, which is why his willingness to dismantle an energy policy that has worked out well for consumers for 40 years is so troubling. The people of Colorado shouldn’t be getting the raw end of Sen. Bennet’s bad deal with big oil.”

For years, big oil has been hard at work encouraging Congress to repeal the crude oil export ban. Doing so would pad the bottom line of oil companies already bringing in billions of dollars in profit each year and also strengthen the economies of foreign countries such as China. Unfortunately, the American people would not fare as well. Experts estimate lifting the ban could raise gas prices by as much as 14.5 cents per gallon. Repealing the ban could also cost thousands of American jobs and squander our hope of achieving American energy independence.

In March of 2011, Bennet told the La Junta Tribune-Democrat, “in rural areas where work can be 50 miles from home and the mechanic 10 miles in the opposite direction, a fluctuation of just a few cents […] in gas prices quickly can drive up the day-to-day cost of living. It might mean choosing between driving to work and paying the heating bill.”

A recent national survey found that a strong majority of Americans back Allied Progress’ position. In the survey, nearly 70 percent of all respondents were opposed to allowing oil and gas companies to export more U.S. oil and gas to foreign countries, including 61 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents, and 75 percent of Democrats.

The Allied Progress ads in Colorado and four other states follow a similar effort last week from the group that targeted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and called into question his position on the crude oil export ban. In response, Sen. Menendez clarified that he is indeed supportive of maintaining the ban as is and that any exceptions considered would be in accordance with what is already allowed under the law. Allied Progress subsequently removed its ad from the air and online.

Voiceover Script From the 30-Second Ad, “Barrel

“Over the past ten years, we’ve cut oil imports almost in half, making America more energy independent. But now Big Oil is opening their wallet, lobbying Congress to let them ship American crude oil overseas, which could cost U.S. jobs, raise gas prices and make us more dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Call your Senators Bennet and Gardner and tell them to keep the crude oil export ban. Because American oil belongs here in America.”


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