Murkowski: Proposed SPR Sell-Off is Political Shortcut

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement regarding calls to raid the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to attempt to lower rising oil prices:

“The SPR is our nation’s insurance policy against serious disruptions in oil supply. It is not a political lever to be pulled when rising prices at the gas pump demonstrate our lack of a coherent energy policy. Right now, we do not face a supply crisis, but we could very well in the near future if unrest in North Africa and the Middle East spreads to other OPEC nations. If we empty our strategic reserves now, and then face an actual shortage, we will literally have nowhere to turn.

“While I share my colleagues’ concerns over the current rise in oil prices, I do not believe it’s appropriate to authorize emergency sales from the SPR at this time. Opening our strategic reserves before it’s absolutely necessary would provide only momentary relief to American families and businesses – and could instead spook the oil markets and lead to unintended consequences. 

“Calls to open SPR should be all the evidence we need that oil supply has a critical impact on oil prices. For far too long, our nation has made itself overly dependent on foreign petroleum instead of producing its own tremendous resources. The current proponents of SPR sales have opposed drilling in ANWR and other promising prospects at every turn – even though that production would far exceed any volumes and benefits that could be derived from SPR.

“Two years after oil stood at $35 a barrel – and a decision was made to invest $90 billion only in nascent technologies – we are learning a hard lesson.  Americans deserve balance, not bias, in their energy policy.  We should have been increasing domestic oil production 20 years ago – and we have literally no more time to waste to begin that process today.

“Domestic production not only reduces the need for foreign oil; it also provides our nation with an opportunity to create jobs, generate government revenues, close our trade deficit and pay down our debt. Raiding SPR doesn’t accomplish this.”