Democrats are pushing Biden to release even more emergency oil: first on CNN


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A group of congressional Democrats is urging President Joe Biden to continue releasing oil from America’s emergency stockpile until the end of the year.

In a letter first obtained by CNN, eight House Democrats asked Biden on Friday to immediately rescind his current plan to halt drawdowns from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve next month.

“With national average gas and oil prices still too high, it is clear that Americans will need continued relief for the foreseeable future,” wrote Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, Rep. of New Jersey and Rep. Kim Schrier of Washington State. in the letter

The lawmakers pointed to the risk of further ripples in energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow.

In late March, as energy prices soared, Biden announced a plan to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from the SPR for six months, for a total of 180 million barrels. That record-setting plan expires in October, leaving the emergency stockpile at its lowest level since the mid-1980s.

As recently as last week, an administration official told CNN that the White House is not considering another round of emergency declarations at this time.

The letter also asks the administration to make a clearer demand on the oil industry by agreeing to buy domestically pumped oil and gas: “Together, these actions will lower domestic energy prices and reduce the possibility of easing price increases during the fall and winter months,” House Democrats wrote. .

In a statement to CNN, an Energy Department spokesman said the SPR was tapped “in response to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war on Ukraine,” and that it “helps ease supply disruptions and lower energy costs for American families as we see gas prices fall 94 days in a row. These emergency releases – the largest ever in US history – have been a lifesaver for American consumers.”

SPR releases, along with recession fears and other factors like the Covid lockdown in China, have helped ease the pain at the gas pump. Since hitting a record high of $5.02 a gallon on June 14, the national average price of gasoline has fallen for 94 consecutive days, according to AAA.

However, the members of parliament stated that even though gas prices have decreased in the last two months, they are still above the level of a year ago.

“Given these realities, that Russia’s war in Ukraine is unlikely to end in the near future and that hurricane season could bring further disruptions to domestic oil production, we urge your administration to commit to releasing additional barrels of oil from the SPR by the end of this year at least,” the letter said.

Beyond releasing the oil, lawmakers asked Biden to use $121 million in the SPR Fund to replenish the emergency stockpile.

“Purchasing more barrels for the SPR will ensure supply both now and in the future should domestic or international conditions cause a severe energy supply disruption that requires you to extract and sell barrels,” House Democrats wrote in the letter.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the state Rep. Kim Schrier represents. He is a congressman from the state of Washington.