Contact: Eben BurnhamSnyder (Markey) 2022242742


Senator says API's reported plan to challenge U.S. law "profoundly troubling"


WASHINGTON (December 3, 2013) After reports surfaced that the American Petroleum Institute (API) is planning to challenge longstanding U.S. law that prohibits the export of crude oil produced in the United States, Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.) today wrote to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman urging that he remain vigilant for any such attempts to undermine national interests. An API planning document obtained by Bloomberg News reportedly shows that the oil industry association plans on highlighting potential World Trade Organization (WTO) violations of U.S. law restricting the export of domesticallyproduced crude oil.


"Longstanding U.S. law restricting crude oil exports is vital to national security, to protect American consumers and wholly consistent with our obligations under international commitments within the WTO," Senator Markey writes. The full Markey letter is available HERE .


In 1975 Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in an attempt to decrease reliance on foreign oil imports, especially those originating from unstable regions, and guarantee the availability of domestic energy supplies. That law "clearly indicates Congress's intent that domesticallyproduced crude oil should first benefit American consumers and industry and enhance our national security, not be shipped overseas to benefit the oil industry," Senator Markey writes. However, as U.S. oil production continues to increase, the oil industry has been increasing exports of American refined fuel and now even wants to look towards exporting domesticallyproduced crude oil abroad. 


According to their internal planning document, API is reportedly planning to challenge U.S. law through the WTO process. Senator Markey warns in his letter that since challenges to WTO obligations can only be raised by other WTO nations and not interest groups such as API, the only way for API to bring such a challenge would be to convince another WTO Member nation to pursue it. Senator Markey describes the WTO strategy as "designed to undermine existing U.S. law, circumvent Congress and the legislative process, and ignore the will of the American people."


Despite restrictions on crude oil exports, the oil industry has been exporting significant quantities of U.S. refined petroleum in recent years. $120 billion in refined fuels were shipped abroad in 2012, making the United States reportedly the world's largest fuel exporter.  


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