Tulsa World: Inhofe, Lankford, Lucas, Cole, Mullin, Russell: Lifting ban on crude oil exports starts new chapter for Oklahoma

By:  Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, and Reps. Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin and Steve Russell
Click here to read at Tulsa World

Revenue in Oklahoma is down by 12 percent. We face a $900.8 million shortfall going into 2016. Our state Secretary of Finance has said we are facing the biggest fiscal challenge since the 2008 recession, and our state education agencies have been told to prepare for large, across-the-board budget cuts midway through the school year substantially due to unreasonably restricting our own access to the international market.

On top of all of this, a report from Oklahoma State University shows our state could lose more than 20,000 jobs through 2016 as a result of our unstable energy market.

One immediate way we can fix the problem is by ending the 40-year-old relic that has been dictating our national energy policy.

Most people might not know that it has been illegal for the U.S. to sell crude oil around the world. This outdated law has hurt our state and its families and businesses that are already struggling to get by.

This is why we have been fighting for a change.

We have been fighting to give jobs back to Oklahoma’s oil patch workers, to keep gasoline prices low, and to make sure the United States and our allies are not held hostage by countries that use energy as a political weapon.

We won this fight to lift the ban on exporting U.S. crude oil in the year-end funding bill.

Lifting the ban means creating 1 million jobs across nearly all 50 states. It means more revenue for Oklahoma. It means six new downstream jobs for every 10 new energy jobs, from manufacturing to information technology.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports means maintaining the low prices we see at the gasoline pumps and disposable money families can put in savings or back into our economy. It means freedom from dangerous cartels across the Middle East that threaten our security and our way of life.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports is about our kids’ future. It is a new opportunity for the entrepreneur down the street, motivation for the student thinking about an apprenticeship in our energy economy and security for the parents who are worried about their jobs.

The new year is a turning point. One of the final budgets under this president is behind us. Now we have an opportunity to move beyond this administration’s heavy hand and bring Oklahoma’s values back to our federal government.

As your voice in Congress, we will always fight for our families, our jobs, our values and our freedom.

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