Republican Texas Rep. Pat Fallon is introducing legislation requiring the Biden administration to obtain congressional approval before releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
The Reserve, created in the aftermath of the 1973-74 oil crisis, can hold up to 714 million barrels of oil. However, Biden began drawing down the SPR in November 2021 as part of an effort to lower gas prices, and it currently sits at 538 million barrels. The Department of Energy will continue drawing from the reserve by one million barrels a day through September, Biden announced in March, as part of a bid to lessen disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (RELATED: Democrats Ask Biden To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve Again)
“Joe Biden’s recent abuse of the SPR is unacceptable and an abuse of power. Under President Trump, the SPR reached record levels and now, this Administration has drained it to its lowest levels almost 40 years. The SPR is meant for weather or national security emergencies, not political expediency. However, it is clear that Joe Biden is using the SPR to prop up their unfeasible Green New Deal policies. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Anti-Exploitation Act prevents exploitation of the SPR by placing a check on the Executive Branch. If this Administration will not hold themselves accountable, Congress must,” Fallon said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, the president has the authority to order oil releases from the reserve when he determines that “a severe energy supply interruption” would “cause a major adverse impact on the national economy” or national security. Fallon’s bill would prohibit releases unless Congress passes legislation or a joint resolution.
Read the bill here:
The Reserve is currently at its lowest level since 1987. Although Democrats claim that the releases are helping to keep prices in check, gas reached an average of $5 a gallon nationwide Thursday. As a result of the draw down, China likely controls the largest oil reserves in the world, several Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on June 2.
Rather than draw down SPR, Republicans have urged the Biden administration to increase domestic energy production. The Energy Department slow-walked drilling and fracking permits on public lands throughout 2021, ultimately reducing the total amount of land that would be available for drilling lease sales by 80%.