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How will Congress' crude oil decision affect ship workers?

Even if you don't follow the markets, you've probably guessed that crude oil prices are still dropping as has been evident by looking at the price per gallon of gas at gas stations all over New York. But even bigger news still is the fact that Congress may soon end a "40-year-old ban on crude oil exports," explains CNBC.

At present time, the United States generates approximately 9.2 million barrels of crude oil each day. Taking it to market would be a major boost to the U.S. economy as well as ensure our place as a competitor in the global energy market.

Though lifting the ban would allow the export of oil out of U.S. ports, herein lies the problem.

As CNBC explains, the export of crude oil would likely occur out of ports in Texas aboard foreign-flag vessels rather than those operating under the Jones Act. As our more frequent readers know, the Jones Act provides protections to boat workers, even affording them maintenance and cure in the even they are injured or killed during the course of work. These same protections might not be afforded to a worker aboard a non-Jones Act tanker.

As you may or may not know, our New York ports are responsible for moving a large quantity of oil and petroleum products into the U.S. Many workers aboard these vessels are protected by the Jones Act and are likely grateful of this fact. But if Congress lifts the ban, it's unclear is the influx of tankers or its workers will enjoy the same protection of the law. Only time will tell now.

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