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National security vs. campaign gas prices

Postmillennialism —  Leave a comment

Barack Obama was returning recently to the White House when he stopped to pet his dog Bo. One of the pool reporters shouted, “Does Bo think you should release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?”

Instead of Bo, members of the media should be asking what the National Security Council thinks of talks regarding the release of oil from the nation’s emergency backup to try to lower prices during Obama’s campaign for re-election.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was created in 1975 in response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo. It has been included in every energy plan the United States has enacted since 1975, in recognition of the United States’ dependence on imported oil.

The SPR includes five underground salt dome storage facilities in Texas and Louisiana and has enough capacity to hold 727 million barrels of oil. It currently holds approximately 704 million barrels.

The stated purpose of the reserve is to “provide the Unites States with energy and economic security through its emergency stockpile of crude oil.” The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) authorized the drawdown of the SPR upon a finding by the president that there is a “severe energy supply interruption.”

Congress enacted additional authority later to permit use of the SPR for short periods to resolve supply interruptions stemming from situations internal to the United States.

Price deliberately was kept out of a president’s SPR drawdown authority. The intent of a drawdown of the reserve was not to lower gasoline prices, even in an election year.

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