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Dan Gilmore / December 11, 2015

Fossilized Regulation Hurting the Oil Industry

Here’s an idea for Speaker Paul Ryan.

Here’s an idea for Speaker Paul Ryan: If he wants to preserve American jobs and keep the American economy running smoothly, then he should work to deregulate the oil industry. Specifically, Congress should allow U.S. oil companies to sell outside the United States. Every month, we see another jobs report and another thousand or so mining jobs have disappeared. The mining sector reached its peak last December. Prices on oil dropped. Gasoline became cheap — helping the wallets of all car-driving Americans — but it hurt the industry. These American jobs in the oil fields could be saved if Washington lifts the ban on oil exports, a holdover from the gasoline shortages in the ‘70s. This is not just an abstract idea. Alaska is mulling an income tax to balance its books. Large oil companies are trying to persuade investors to keep their stocks. “President Obama has threatened to veto Congressional attempts to lift the ban,” wrote the Wall Street Journal editorial board, “which like his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline sounds like a case of anti-fossil-fuel spite. But ending the export ban may emerge this month as part of Congress’s year-end budget deal, and doing so could save dozens of companies and tens of thousands of jobs. Republicans can’t make this point often enough as the pain gets worse in the oil patch.” This situation — an industry in decline because of federal regulation — brings to mind West Virginia, which is facing an adult unemployment rate of about 50% because of this administration’s harsh policies towards coal. Even if Obama and his green cronies block Republicans’ plans, the foundation would have been laid for when Republicans can finally set the agenda in Washington.

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