We previously discussed the president’s rather… “interesting” decision to release part of the strategic petroleum reserve this week. It was a rather pointless, if not dangerous political maneuver which isn’t winning him any friends. Now the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Doc Hastings, has weighed in on the subject and he is less than pleased.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is intended for situations when there’s a dramatic supply shut down, not to achieve short-term political gain. However, this is a clear admission from the Obama Administration that increasing domestic oil supplies will help lower costs. Unfortunately, for the past two and a half years, the Obama Administration has consistently blocked efforts to expand American energy production and has actively placed moratoriums on domestic development. This release will only cover a fraction of the oil production lost from the Gulf of Mexico due to the Administration’s moratorium and permitting delays. The Administration’s anti-American energy policies have left the United States increasingly vulnerable to the whims of the world oil market and OPEC’s erratic decisions on oil supply.”
Hastings is well respected and is known for being a reasonable, level headed legislator with a lot of experience on energy issues. You probably have to put a significantly large bee under his bonnet to provoke this sort of official response. Of course, given the round drubbing that Obama has taken over this blatantly political maneuver, it’s fairly easy to understand.
Those reserves are there for a real emergency, such as a hurricane or a significant break in overseas supply lines. (Libya is not a significant producer in the larger scheme of things.) Things which do not qualify as an emergency include a prolonged dip in your poll numbers.