Increase Domestic Oil Production. Don't Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve
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The administration announced it will release 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to lower oil prices. The Chamber thinks this is bad energy policy.
Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Energy Institute, said this action isn't the answer:
The Obama Administration’s decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is ill-advised and not the signal the markets need. Unrest in the Middle East is likely to continue for quite some time, so a temporary increase in supply is not a substitute for a long term fix. Our reserve is intended to address true emergencies, not politically inconvenient high prices. Rather than dabbling around the edges, the Administration should take steps to increase domestic production of oil—on and offshore, like the bill the House passed last night. With U.S. crude oil production expected to decrease by 90 million barrels in the next year, the Administration should instead focus on increasing domestic production to improve our energy security, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create thousands of jobs.
The House bill that Harbert references is H.R. 2021, the "Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011." It would streamline the permitting process for oil and gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. The EPA would have a six-month deadline to approve or not approve projects. That would give companies a predictable approval timeline. It passed the House, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain.
The Chamber is also very supportive of H.R. 1938, the “North American-Made Energy Security Act,” expected to pass the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. This bill would help to better coordinate the permit approval process for the Keystone XL Pipeline project that would connect American refiners with Canadian crude oil supplies.
The Chamber supports both the North American-Made Energy Security Act and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 as ways to increase domestic energy production and create American jobs.