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The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Markey: President Doesn't Think We're In an Oil Emergency??


Contact: Select Committee, 202-225-4081

Markey: President Doesn’t Think We’re In an Oil Emergency??

Record Inflation, $4 Gasoline, and Still the President Opposes Using Strategic Petroleum Reserve

WASHINGTON (July 15, 2008) – During President Bush’s news conference today, he was asked about the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to release oil into the marketplace and bring down the price at the pump. He responded by saying “ [The reserve] is for emergencies . . .” indicating that he has no intention of using any of the 700 million barrels of oil currently residing in the SPR.

“The president is once again demonstrating that he is a leader with blinders on,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “Four dollar gasoline, bogged down in a war in Iraq, the economy entering a recession, the stock market down more than 15 percent since January, the housing market in crisis, banks failing, the highest inflation in almost 30 years, and he still doesn’t think we’re in an emergency?”

Chairman Markey yesterday announced he is finalizing a bill that will force the president to deploy oil from the reserve at an average rate of 500,000 barrels a day of light sweet crude oil for approximately six months. The bill would then swap in cheaper heavy crude oil to the reserves, replenishing the SPR, using the additional money raised from the swap to fund low-income energy assistance and renewable energy development.

Today at a press conference with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Markey, three leading economists -- former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Council of Economic Adviser Alan Binder and renowned economist Allen Sinai -- endorsed the use of the SPR and a ‘swap’ of oil as proposed by Chairman Markey as a way to address oil prices.

Since the SPR was established, multiple presidents, including the current President Bush after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, have released oil from the SPR to bring down the price of oil. Earlier this year, Chairman Markey and other Democratic leaders pushed a successful bi-partisan effort to stop the president from continuing to fill the SPR at a rate of 70,000 barrels a day, a move the president opposed before a veto-proof majority was won on the measure.

Democratic leaders are pushing for immediate relief by releasing oil from the SPR, and long-term solutions through increased fuel economy standards and renewable fuels like cellulosic ethanol, which the Democrats passed in December. Democrats are also pushing for more plug-in hybrid vehicles and renewable energy to break our dependence on oil and fossil fuels.

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PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

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