The internet posted a few articles yesterday and today about President Obama’s decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) this month. The common sense question either in the articles or the comments goes something like this: “Why are we releasing the oil from the SPR while blocking domestic oil production?”
Fox News posted an article yesterday saying:
“Rather than draw down on these limited reserves, Obama ought to speed up the red-tape-entangled permitting process for offshore drilling projects at home and increase lease sales to domestic reserves. In fact, if the president truly valued the American consumer and domestic energy security, he would never have enacted his job-crushing, energy-killing drilling moratorium in the Gulf last year–followed by a refusal to grant permits.
“According to the House Natural Resources Committee, the ban cost us 900,000 barrels of domestically produced oil every day–a total of about 135 million barrels, more than four times the amount the president is now sacrificing a security asset in order to tap. In this case it’s Obama’s Gulf ‘permitorium’ that constituted the real supply disruption.”
John Hinderaker at Power Line observes:
“No one pretends that this is the intended use of the strategic reserve–the administration is just trying to get past the Fourth of July without too much political fallout from gas prices–nor does anyone think that a one-time influx of oil will have any long-term impact on energy costs. Still, the administration’s action is revealing: if you want to keep prices down, what do you do? You increase supply.
“That being the case, why has the Democratic Party done everything in its power for more than 30 years to suppress domestic production of oil? Let’s consider some sources of petroleum that the Democrats have blocked. ANWR is estimated to have the capacity to produce 1,000,000 barrels per day. Currently, around 1.5 million barrels per day are produced in the Gulf of Mexico; if the Obama administration would stop blocking permits and allow that production to increase by only 20 percent, that would be 300,000 barrels per day. Then there is the Keystone pipeline. The administration would like to block its construction, which would prevent 900,000 barrels per day from entering the U.S. If it is a good idea to restrain prices by a one-time release of 30 million barrels, why isn’t it a really great idea to open up production that would add more than twice that amount every month, indefinitely?”
The Daily Caller observes:
“Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute, said in a statement: “Unrest in the Middle East is likely to continue for quite some time, so a temporary increase in supply is not a substitute for a long-term fix. Our reserve is intended to address true emergencies, not politically inconvenient high prices.”
The move to release oil from the SPR is political and not good for national security. Hopefully the American voters will see through the gamesmanship.