O'Rourke defends 2015 vote to lift oil export ban

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) presidential campaign defended his 2015 vote in favor of lifting the ban on exporting oil, according to HuffPost.

O’Rourke voted in favor of ending the 40-year restriction on selling U.S. oil abroad in October, and after that bill stalled in the Senate, voted to approve an amendment to a budget bill doing the same thing that eventually passed the upper chamber, according to the publication.

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In a statement to the publication, Chris Evans, a spokesman for the O’Rourke campaign, said O’Rourke’s vote was meant to ensure that “the resources we consume ― even as we work quickly to transition to renewable energy ― are governed by the strictest environmental laws, safeguards, and standards implemented by our country but not by others.”

Most of O’Rourke’s Democratic colleagues disagreed with his rationale, according to HuffPost.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Energy: Bernhardt confirmed as Interior chief | Dems probing if EPA officials broke ethics rules | Senators offer bipartisan carbon capture bill O’Rourke defends 2015 vote to lift oil export ban Dems probing whether EPA officials violated ethics rules MORE (D-N.J.), then the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the repeal’s language was overly vague and “not only repeals current crude export restrictions, but also ensures that no export restrictions – for any reason – could be implemented or enforced in the future.” Six of 11 Texas Democrats voted for the bill the first time, but O’Rourke was one of only three who voted for it the second time, according to HuffPost.

The O’Rourke campaign argued the Obama administration’s commitment to regulating emissions and oil drilling were a major factor in his vote.

“Ultimately, if the same vote were held today during the Trump administration ― which has rolled back methane standards for oil and gas, appointed fossil fuel lobbyists to run the EPA, and weakened enforcement of our clean air and clean water laws ― Beto would not be able to support the bill,” Evans told the publication.

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