March 11, 2011: President Obama Right to Prepare to Use SPR While Pushing for Clean Energy Future

News from Natural Resources Committee:

President Also Pursuing Markey’s “Use It” Strategy for Non-Producing Oil Wells
WASHINGTON (March 11, 2011) – Speaking at a news conference today on the Japanese tsunami, the budget debate, and other issues, President Barack Obama continued to leave the option open to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in light of continued Middle East strife and potential harm to the U.S. economy. Reflecting the USE IT legislation offered last week by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the president also said he was encouraging his administration to look into the fact that oil companies are not producing on many of the drilling leases they currently hold.
Yesterday, Rep. Markey and other House Democrats introduced legislation to release oil from the SPR and enhance its flexibility and security. More information can be found HERE.
The president also continued to push the vital long-term strategy for America to develop clean energy alternatives to oil, finally breaking our country’s dependence on an OPEC-controlled commodity.
Rep. Markey, who was first to call for the opening of the reserves, praised the president for keeping the use of the reserves open. Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, also said that with the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, global economic conditions could worsen, potentially increasing the urgency of using the reserves.
Below is the statement of Rep. Markey:
The people of the Pacific are currently enduring a disastrous tsunami, and American families and businesses are dealing with a growing wave of destructive gas prices.
“When you combine the destruction in Japan and the disruptions in the Pacific with the continued strife in the Middle East, you have a recipe for economic hardship that ripples through the global economy straight into the wallets of American consumers.
“President Obama is correct to prepare to tap our nation’s oil reserves to temper prices in the short term, while continuing to push for clean energy alternatives that will finally break America’s dependence on oil in the long-term.
“The economic disruption from the tragic events in the Pacific only adds to the urgency to deploy the reserves, before high gas prices increase the prices of goods, transportation and other economic concerns for months to come.
“When the first President Bush failed to urgently deploy our oil reserves following the invasion of Kuwait, oil’s increasing prices had a multi-month effect on the economy, sending America into a recession. The key to effectively using the oil reserves is not just whether to use this one short-term price weapon we have in our arsenal, it’s also when to deploy it. I believe that time has come, and we should deploy the reserves now
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