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U.S. refiners have fared better than other parts of the energy industry during the downturn, as cheaper crude prices have boosted their margins
Although Republican leaders are intent on pushing the bill through the House soon, the lopsided 31-19 vote illustrated the steep political obstacles to liberalizing crude trade.
The cleanup, which can largely be overseen by private professionals instead of the state under a 2009 law, could take years, perhaps even decades.
As plants operate at record-high capacities to soak up cheap crude and satisfy a growing demand for gasoline, a spate of refinery shutdowns have cropped up across the United States, including a recent shutdown of the BP Whiting plant, the largest refinery in the Midwest.
Pump prices declined to the lowest level since an April 24 survey due to lower crude oil prices in combination with high output from refineries.
A House hearing Thursday illustrated the steep obstacles for oil producers and their congressional supporters seeking to upend a longstanding ban on exporting crude.
West Houston, with white-collar oil and gas jobs in the Energy Corridor, and the Galleria area will suffer more, while the more blue-collar East Houston workforce would be better off in the short term, the report contends.
The pact, if approved by the union members, would mark the end of a nationwide walkout that at its height affected 15 refineries, chemical plants and other locations.
Exxon Mobil Corp. will get help from the U.S. government in paying for clean up costs at two refineries that produced billions of gallons of aviation fuel for allied forces during World War II and the Korean War.
Futures traders bid up the price of U.S. crude after a government report showed a smaller-than-expected gain in inventories.