Hurd on the Hill: Moving Towards North American Energy Security
For almost four decades, there’s been a ban on exporting U.S. crude. While it’s not always the case, most decisions made almost 40 years ago by the federal government rarely still reflect the current political or economic realities of the world. That’s certainly the case with this ban. This outdated policy is holding our nation back from achieving North American Energy Security and harming our National Security.
Knowing that Mexico was reforming their own energy trade policies, in May I worked with my Texas Democratic colleague Congressman Henry Cuellar in forming a bipartisan coalition of Texas members with the goal of encouraging the Administration to consider partially lifting this ban. PEMEX, the Mexican state-run energy company, was interested in trading their heavy crude oil for U.S. light crude oil, a great deal of which is pulled from the ground in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. Due to innovative American technology, we have an abundance of light crude oil. Meanwhile, Mexican refineries are better equipped to refine light crude oil. This led PEMEX to propose an oil swap with the U.S. and in a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzer, we explained why this proposal was good for our nation and encouraged her to approve it.
Just days ago, Rep. Cuellar and I were notified by the Department of Commerce on their decision to approve the PEMEX request. Rarely do I agree with a decision made by the Obama administration, but this is a decision that will benefit not only our district, but the entire nation for many reasons.
This reformed energy trade policy with Mexico will further strengthen the trade relationship between us, Mexico and our other North American partner, Canada. Energy companies will be able to better utilize their resources, which means expanded investment in American energy, leading to the creation of good-paying American jobs. And the more energy we are producing as a nation, the less dependent we are on other nations who don’t always have our best interest in mind.
The real hope is that this is a step towards lifting this ban altogether. Being able to export excess American energy will strengthen our global standing. And the more energy other nations are buying from the United States, the less they’ll buy from Russia, China and Iran.
Since the deal that President Obama brokered with Iran allows them to sell oil on the international market, allowing us to swap with Mexico is the least he could do. Maybe one day he’ll see fit to fight to give American companies the same freedom he is offering a government that will use their profits to continue funding terrorism across the globe.
A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.