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By Ari Natter
Feb. 18 — The Commerce Department should authorize the export of oil to Mexico, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and 19 other senators wrote in a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
Such a move would “harmonize” trade policy with Canada, with which the export of oil is allowed, Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.
“President [Ronald] Reagan authorized oil exports to Canada 30 years ago—a decision that contributed to lower consumer fuel prices and greater domestic energy production,” Murkowski said. “Mexico deserves the same treatment. This is an opportunity for Congress and the administration to work together for the common good.”
The letter comes as an application from Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil company, to swap heavy Mexican crude oil for lighter grade U.S. petroleum is pending before the Commerce Department, according to Murkowski's office.
“We encourage the Department of Commerce to approve any such applications it has received or may receive from adjacent foreign states, such as Mexico,” the letter said. “The Energy Policy and Conservation Act and other relevant statutes clearly authorize swaps and exchanges and, in our view, deserve bipartisan support.”
The letter, which also was signed by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), comes as Murkowski and others in Congress are seeking in the wake of record domestic oil production to lift the broader ban on the export of crude oil put in place 40 years ago.
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