On January 30, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held an historic hearing on whether the U.S. Government should relax the general ban on crude oil exports which it has had since 1975 and has never seriously reconsidered since. Crude oil exports are currently generally prohibited except to Canada and where the oil has transited the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Alaska oil exports must by law (enacted in 1995) be transported in U.S.-flag vessels. The ranking member of the Committee – Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska – has already indicated support for a relaxation of the ban. The Committee took testimony both for and against relaxing crude oil exports, and Chairman Ron Wyden indicated at the end of the hearing that the day’s deliberations should be put in the “to be continued” box.