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President Obama faces increasing pressure to lift 1970's oil ban

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It now appears almost certain that President Obama will reverse his decision on the Keystone Pipeline XL and approve it in the near future. Combine that with the latest boom in U.S. oil production and some lawmakers are now calling for lifting oil export restrictions that have been in place for decades.

"If you don't start exporting here shortly, you're going to wind up in a situation where you're going to have to shut in some production It's going to be difficult for the administration to explain why that's a good idea," said Republican strategist Michael McKenna, president of the lobbying firm MWR Strategies to Roll Call.

Political pressure will most likely convince the president that it’s a good thing. Otherwise governors and mayors will "complain about lost tax revenue and oil workers will be laid off," McKenna said.

Naturally, the environmentalist groups are adamantly opposed to Keystone, but U.S. oil production is skyrocketing largely due to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques enabling the big energy producers in North Dakota and Texas to expedite oil that otherwise would sit in the ground.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures will produce an additional 1.59 million barrels in 2015 as opposed to the 2013 numbers. That would be an all-time high for U.S. oil production.

The EIA also provided good news about oil imports saying they will account for just 25 percent of U.S. demand by 2015, down from more than 60 percent of domestic demand in 2005.

The Republicans in late January pressured the president to move ahead with the stalled Keystone pipeline. The demand came shortly after a State Department report disclosed that the project's impact on climate change would be minimal.

Could this be the actual beginning of ending our dependence on foreign energy?

What could that mean to our concerns about the Middle East and its priority in U.S. foreign policy?

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