WASHINGTON D.C. — Following reports that Energy Secretary Steven Chu approved a loan of 1 million barrels of sweet crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the Marathon Petroleum Company, Daniel Kish, IER’s Senior Vice President of Policy, released the following statement:
“Ensuring a stable provision of crude oil to refiners in the aftermath of national disasters or global supply disruptions is the purpose of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Today’s announcement that Energy Secretary Steven Chu has authorized a loan to maintain refining capacity along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Issac represents an appropriate action by federal authorities. Regrettably, the Obama administration has previously shown a willingness to use SPR to achieve political ends, and to date the administration has not replenished the 30 million barrels released for such purposes last year.
The message from the Obama administration is clear — strategic reserves may be loaned under strict terms to refineries in the event of national disasters, but they may also be used to shore up President Obama’s approval ratings amid rising gasoline prices. While today’s announcement is appropriate, earlier administration actions with respect to our domestic oil resources — including but not limited to last year’s SPR release — reveal a disturbing trend: rather than an opportunity to promote energy independence and security, the White House appears to view America’s vast energy resources through the lens of pollsters and election advisors.”