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Strategic Petroleum Reserve meant to be a buffer during crisis

By Chris Zeigler
Guest columnist

With growing conflict around the world, the importance of American energy security has never been more clear. Our leaders need to prioritize policies that help secure our energy future, as Representative Tom Cole wrote in his recent column, “Energy security for America and our allies” (Oct. 27).

America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is meant to serve as a buffer to protect American families and businesses during a crisis, including natural disasters and geopolitical events. The Biden administration’s decision to draw significant reserves from the SPR leaves Americans vulnerable to future instability. 

To put things into perspective: the SPR currently contains less than half of its authorized capacity and this summer hit its lowest point since 1983. With war in Europe and the Middle East, as well as a pattern of oil supply cuts from energy producers abroad, we need a plan that helps refill the SPR and ensure long-term American oil and natural gas production.

The current administration seems to be doing the opposite. Just this year they have raised fees for oil and natural gas development, canceled planned lease sales and, recently, released an offshore leasing proposal with the fewest leases in the federal program’s 43-year history. Taken together, these efforts could put the future of American energy at risk. 

President Biden and Congress need to work together to shift away from uncertainty and toward energy security. This includes offering up new oil and natural gas lease sales, passing comprehensive permitting reforms to support new infrastructure development, and revamping Washington’s brigade of policies that could undermine our nation’s energy security.

Chris Zeigler is executive director at the American Petroleum Institute Ohio.

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