Recently the editorial board wrote in opposition to lifting the ban on crude oil exports (“Lifting crude-oil export ban would help Big Oil, hurt the rest of us“), claiming a commonly repeated myth that only so-called “Big Oil” would gain if Congress were to repeal this outdated policy. But the reality is actually quite different.

Small businesses and U.S. workers stand to see significant benefits if increased U.S. energy production were incentivized courtesy of being able to export crude oil. The government banning such exports obviously restrains economic, business and job growth.

The same Brookings Institution study cited by the editorial board concluded that eliminating the ban would inject between $600 billion to $1.8 trillion into the American economy. An American Petroleum Institute study also showed that some 6,000 new jobs could be added by 2020 in Maine, along with about $1 billion in estimated income contribution.

And guess what? Small businesses would benefit as they account for the vast majorities of enterprises in key energy sectors. Consider, for example, that, according to the latest Census Bureau data, 90.7 percent of employer firms among oil and gas extraction, 81.5 percent of firms among support activities for oil and gas operations businesses, 60.5 percent of firms among oil and gas pipeline and related structures construction businesses, and 54.7 percent of firms among oil and gas field machinery and equipment manufacturing businesses all have less than 20 workers.

Congress should lift the ban on crude oil exports. If Mainers truly care about the economy, small business and jobs, then they should encourage – not discourage – their senators to support a policy that will bring clear benefits to Maine and the nation.

Raymond J. Keating

Chief Economist

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Vienna, Va.