Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole suggests the Biden administration’s depletion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve raises a “unique threat to our nation” as China and Iran increase their oil production and war is underway in the Middle East.
How can he make such a claim? Look no further than Joe Biden as President.
“President Joe Biden since his first day in office has taken actions that have dangerously and significantly reduced our nation’s energy independence and production,” he wrote in a column released this week.
Below is Cole’s message:
While the United States’ adversaries such as China and Iran are bolstering their oil production, the United States, under the direction of the Biden Administration has significantly reduced energy production here at home and has sold off more than 40 percent of our oil stocks in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Now, as war breaks out in the Middle East, the depletion of our emergency oil supplies to the lowest levels since the 1980s presents a unique threat to our nation, our longest ally Israel and partners around the world.
Earlier this month, tension in the Middle East reached a boiling point following Hamas’ barbaric attacks on Israel. The U.S. stands in support of Israel and its right to defend itself in full force. Incidentally, we must also remember it was the U.S.’s aid to Israel in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War that first caused a detrimental embargo of oil flowing into America from the Arab members of OPEC. This embargo led to skyrocketing energy prices and energy shortages across the country, but it ultimately led the U.S. to establish the SPR in 1975. The creation of the SPR supported the United States’ energy industry by bolstering energy production at home and created a strategic safety net for times of war and natural disasters.
In contrast, President Joe Biden since his first day in office has taken actions that have dangerously and significantly reduced our nation’s energy independence and production. When this caused the prices of energy to skyrocket, the president then wrongfully and dangerously drained our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to its lowest level in 40 years. This move, done for political expedience rather than meaningful effect, unfortunately did not have any effect on energy prices.
With our own energy production hampered and our emergency reserves reduced, if OPEC countries were to turn off the spigot, this would put the U.S. in an incredibly vulnerable position. With only 56 days of total U.S. oil imports last year currently in the reserve, cutting the U.S. off from imports would trigger even higher energy prices, energy rationing and shortages and Americans waiting in long lines at the gas pumps.
In addition, the U.S. has the capabilities to provide Israel oil supplies during its time of need instead of relying on other nations that do not have its best interests in mind. In fact, Iran’s Foreign Minister has already called on Islamic countries to boycott Israel, including cutting off oil shipments. In 2018 under the last administration, the U.S. passed Saudi Arabia to be the world’s top producer of petroleum. We led through the adoption of an energy policy that allowed the U.S. to produce to its full potential. This helped us moderate energy prices, meet demand elsewhere, such as to our allies and Europe, and provided thousands of high paying jobs here at home. While Israel relies on most of its oil imports from these Islamic nations, we can and we should be providing our friend and ally with oil.
To protect our strategic petroleum reserve and our national security interests, earlier this year House Republicans passed the Strategic Production Response Act to prevent drawdowns of the SPR and require President Biden to put a plan in place to increase domestic production. House Republicans also passed the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, which would prevent the U.S. Secretary of Energy from selling any amount of the United States’ emergency oil reserves to entities affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party or entities that intend to export to China.
If conflict in the Middle East were to spread, the drawdown of our emergency oil supply might put our national security at risk. Energy security is national security, and now is the time to restart energy production here at home to unleash American energy dominance, drive down energy costs for Americans and ensure energy security for our country and our allies.
Source: press release