A key energy Republican warned the White House today that reports President Obama may push for a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at the G-8 summit beginning today will put national security at risk.
“The U.S. is the single most energy-rich country in the world. The problem is that we are also the only country in the world that puts more than 90% of its energy resources completely off-limits,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said. “Last year, the president released 30 million barrels of the reserve to manipulate oil prices and has yet to refill it. Releasing even more this year only lessens our buffer and protection when a true crisis hits.”
Tom Donilon, Obama’s national security adviser, appeared at yesterday’s White House press briefing but refused to comment on an SPR release.
“I don’t — I don’t — I don’t think it’s useful for me to comment on further on — on a potential SPR release, because I don’t have anything to — I don’t have any announcement to make on that,” Donilon said.
Pending legislation in Congress would bar Obama from tapping into the SPR without approving the Keystone XL pipeline first (Vitter’s bill) and tie any drawdown in the reserve to a proportional increase in new energy leases on federal land (House bill, Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner).
Though oil prices have recently fallen, the European Union is going to halt all oil imports from Iran on July 1 in punitive sanctions.