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Bice Leads Letter to Biden, Granholm Opposing Tapping Strategic Petroleum Reserve

November 22, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Friday, Representative Stephanie Bice (OK-05) led a letter to President Biden and Energy Secretary Granholm opposing their plan to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help solve the administrations’ self-inflicted rising fuel costs.  

“Rising fuel prices are placing an undue burden on Americans at a time when few can afford the extra expense,” said Bice. “Instead of unleashing oil and gas leasing on federal lands or asking U.S. companies to increase crude supplies, the president has repeatedly asked OPEC, as well as pressuring China, Japan, Korea and India, to increase oil production. We should not rely on foreign supplies to lower U.S. gas prices, nor should we use our emergency reserves.” 

Bice was joined by Reps. Tom Cole (OK-4), Liz Cheney (WY-AL), Andrew Clyde (GA-9), Roger Williams (TX-25), August Pfluger (TX-11), Garret Graves (LA-6), Kevin Brady (TX-8), Julia Letlow (LA-5), Ann Wagner (MO-2), Yvette Herrell (NM-2), Greg Steube (FL-17), Jake LaTurner (KS-2), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Michael Guest (MS-3), Jody Hice (GA-10), Don Young (AK-AL), Randy Weber (TX-14), Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-1), Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-5), Kevin Hern (OK-1), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Alex Frank Lucas (OK-3), Alex Mooney (WV-2), Tracey Mann (KS-1), Andrew Garbarino (NY-2), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-2), Bob Good (VA-5), Brian Babin (TX-36), Steve Scalise (LA-1), Bruce Westerman (AR-4) and Tom Emmer (MN-6).

The representatives wrote: “…We should not extract oil from the SPR to address a self-inflicted crisis caused by this administration. We must continue to reserve the world’s largest supply of emergency crude for national emergencies that cannot otherwise be prevented.”

They continued: “There is no reason to use our country’s safety net to bail out President Biden’s failed policies and poor planning. Rather, it would be in our best interest to reopen oil and gas production on federal lands, which would equate to a 20 increase in our domestic oil production. If we were to withdrawal barrels from the SPR that are currently priced at $29/per barrel and forced to replace it at a cost of over $80/per barrel (and growing), we would be creating another economic nightmare for taxpayers.”

The full text of the letter can be found here and below. 

President Biden and Secretary Granholm:

As your Administration considers tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help slow rising gas prices, we write to express our concern and opposition to this proposed plan of action. Gas prices have and will continue to rise due to production restrictions on federal lands, cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and heightened environmental regulations, including those on methane emissions. In addition, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently rejected President Biden’s request for more crude exports to the U.S. We should not extract oil from the SPR to address a self-inflicted crisis caused by this administration. We must continue to reserve the world’s largest supply of emergency crude for national emergencies that cannot otherwise be prevented. 

The SPR was created in 1975 in response to the oil embargo created by OPEC. America had become increasingly dependent on foreign oil and was left in economic turmoil before President Nixon and President Ford worked to create an energy strategy to boost domestic production and reduce our country’s vulnerability to oil imports and fuel shortages. This led to the creation of the SPR, which has since protected our country from oil shortages after natural and economic disasters. 

During the winter storms that descended upon Texas and Oklahoma this past winter, oil reserves were used due to the incapacity of pipeline operations. In other emergencies, the SPR released 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to aid Louisianans after Hurricane Ida and 11 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. At times when our country could not produce enough for domestic demand, we could rely on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to protect our economy and our people.

There is no reason to use our country’s safety net to bail out President Biden’s failed policies and poor planning. Rather, it would be in our best interest to reopen oil and gas production on federal lands, which would equate to a 20% increase in our domestic oil production. If we were to withdraw reserves from the SPR that are currently priced at $29/per barrel and forced to replace them at a cost of over $80/per barrel (and growing), we would be creating another economic nightmare for taxpayers. 

Higher gas prices hurt the American public. Encouraging domestic oil and gas production helps to create American jobs, energy independence from Russia and the Middle East, and cheaper visits to the pump. Resorting to withdrawals from the SPR only postpones reality and creates larger economic concerns for the future. At a time when we will undoubtably have harsh winter storms and hurricanes, along with an uncertain global geopolitical environment, future withdrawals from the SPR may be urgently needed. We must ensure the SPR is fully stocked and able to protect Americans the way it was intended to.