From Open Secrets:
The oil industry‘s victory in the battle to lift the crude export ban didn’t come out of thin air. Opponents of the prohibition — long some of the biggest forces in the Washington influence game — began lobbying on the issue in earnest in early 2013, with the effort building until they accomplished their long-sought goal when language was inserted into a must-pass spending bill that funds the government until October 2016.
The language lifting the ban found its way into the $1.1 trillion omnibus package this week through some congressional horse-trading: Environmentalist Democrats got half-a-decade of tax credits for solar and wind projects, while their industry-friendly counterparts like Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and most Republicans got an end to the prohibition on overseas crude sales.
“It’s incredible what the Democrats in Congress were willing to give up for just five years of renewable energy tax credits,” Marcie Keever, a Berkeley, Calif.-based expert on oil exports and a program director at Friends of the Earth.
Lobbying firms began to report activity on issues like “oil export” and “crude export” for the first time in 2013 — a few years after the country’s fracking boom, concentrated in regions like the Bakken Shale formation in Heitkamp’s home state, began to strain the capacities of coastal refineries and the oil transport infrastructure that led to them. Crude oil couldn’t be exported (except in special cases) due to long-standing federal law; it could, however, be refined and sold overseas as a different product, like gasoline.
But two years, hundreds of lobbying reports…