From wire service reports:
WASHINGTON - Companies should be allowed to export American oil and natural gas widely, the nation’s top business lobbying group said Wednesday.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce made the case for virtually unchecked exports of the fossil fuels to countries that are members of the World Trade Organization. And in a broad new policy paper, the chamber offered a host of other recommendations designed to harness the economic potential of U.S. energy.
"We should have a free energy market out there which would benefit our industry, provide more markets for our industry and make sure we are able to reap the value of all our resources," said Karen Harbert, head of the chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, which formally unveiled the policy platform Wednesday.
The prospect of upending the 39-year-old ban on oil exports -which has its roots in oil shortages during the 1970s - divides some chamber members, just as it has caused a rift in the oil industry.
Crude producers seek export freedoms even as some independent refiners push against them.
Among the opponents are San Antonio refiners Tesoro Corp. and Valero Energy Corp., which benefit from the restrictions on exporting unprocessed crude. Refiners are allowed to send their processed products overseas.
Critics of easing the export ban also have raised the specter of higher domestic crude prices or warned that overseas sales could hasten the decline of now-surging U.S. oil fields.
And some environmental groups argue that allowing exports would spur development of the fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases linked to climate change.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.