NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The expected Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after Tuesday's mid-term elections is likely to seek to roll back federal regulations on power-plant emissions, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, expand oil and gas development on federal lands and work toward ending the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, energy experts said.
EPA regulations requiring big cuts in power-plant carbon emissions will be a major target of a new Republican-controlled Congress, said a former House Republican staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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"There will be a lot of oversight and legislation aimed at the EPA regulations," the former staffer said. He also predicted that Keystone "will keep coming up until it's approved" and that federal lands will be increasing opened up for oil and gas drilling.
Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research, a consulting firm in Amherst, Mass., predicted the administration will approve Keystone in response to renewed Republican pressure and lower political risk after the mid-term elections.
"The Republicans will go to Obama and say, look, 'We've got to get this done; your own government is saying this is fine. The election is over so you don't have to worry,'" Lynch said.
The predicted GOP Senate majority will also likely try to end the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, said David Goldwyn, president of Goldwyn Global Strategies, a consulting firm.
Goldwyn, who advised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on energy policy, argued that Republican lawmakers may well push for scrapping the ban -- which was imposed in response to the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s -- because selling oil overseas would help to sustain the current boom in U.S. oil and gas production.
After the latest plunge in global oil prices, the incentive for energy companies to invest in U.S. production is dwindling, and that threatens to derail rapid growth in what has been one of the strongest areas of the domestic economy since the recovery began, Goldwyn argued.
Any decision to sell U.S. crude overseas would create a new market for the oil, pushing up its price and simultaneously driving down the European benchmark crude, North Sea Brent, because of the new global supply.
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