Senators ask U.S. spy chief to inform policymakers about energy boom

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 14, 2015 5:01 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four Republican senators on Tuesday urged the director of national intelligence to keep policymakers informed of the global security implications of booming U.S. energy output as Congress considers repealing the ban on domestic oil exports.

"We agree that energy independence within North America and, perhaps, the Western Hemisphere is not only an attainable goal, but also increasingly the economic reality," Senators Lisa Murkowski, the head of the Senate energy committee, and Richard Burr, the head of the chamber's intelligence committee, and two others wrote in a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

The senators said they support analysis by intelligence officials to "assess the geopolitical and international security implications of our nation's energy renaissance."

The letter cited a 2012 report from the National Intelligence Council - a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities - that suggested the United States could emerge as a major energy exporter by 2020.

The council's report described U.S. energy independence as a potential "tectonic shift" by 2030.

Murkowski introduced a bill this year to lift the ban on crude exports Congress passed in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo spurred fears of shortages. She has said U.S. oil and gas exports could help Europe diversify away from Russian energy sources, though some have said making such a shift quickly could be difficult.

Her bill has 14 co-sponsors in the 100-member Senate chamber.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Tom Hogue)