In a move considered unthinkable even a few months ago, congressional leaders have agreed to lift the nation’s 40-year-old ban on oil exports, a historic action that reflects political and economic shifts driven by a boom in U.S. oil drilling. The measure allowing oil exports is at the center of a deal congressional leaders announced early Wednesday on spending and tax legislation. Both the House and Senate still must pass it and President Barack Obama must sign it into law.
The deal would lift the ban, a priority for Republicans and the oil industry, and at the same time adopt environmental and renewable measures that Democrats sought. These include extending and then phasing down wind and solar-tax credits; reauthorizing for three years a conservation fund; and excluding any measures that block major Obama administration environmental regulations.