Biden to tap 15M barrels from oil reserve to ease high price; GOP calls it midterm politicking
Joe Biden is to tap 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a key energy policy tool used by the Obama Administration to keep the oil supply in the United States healthy, to ease high prices for American consumers. The oil reserve is the largest stockpile in the world and has become the target of criticism from Republicans, who said the move is designed to benefit Democratic candidates, including Governor Romney and Senator McCain.
Biden, who is seen as the frontrunner in the Democratic Senate primary to take on Senate President Harry Reid, signed a letter to President Obama, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ed Markey, and the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd, Tuesday, asking for a “tremendous amount of money” to be put towards the $15 billion reserve, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Roll Call. The letter also asks for the drilling of new oil wells in the reserve.
Markey and Dodd previously requested the drilling of new wells on the reserve in 2008. The senator has said previously, “it would be great if we could drill them in order to get more oil out of here,” but, due to environmental concerns and a lack of drilling permit, drilling in the reserve was put on hold. In addition, the drilling of the wells will consume up to 1,000 barrels of oil a day. The letter suggests Obama’s approval of drilling would allow the reserve to operate as it was in 2008, without requiring new wells to be drilled.
The Republican leadership in Congress however has been less than enthusiastic about the oil reserve. The House Financial Services Committee called on the administration not to tap the reserve, while the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd have called for changes to how the reserve is used and for Obama’s approval of drilling on the reserve.
“Mr. Biden’s proposal would help ease the impact of the high oil prices, but there are other ways