Murkowski: Strategic Reserve Critical to Long-Term Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement in response to calls to release oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to lower gasoline prices:

“Once again we are hearing calls from Democrats to tap our nation’s emergency oil supplies to lower prices at the pump. Rising gas prices are painful for all of us, but the SPR is our nation’s insurance policy against serious oil supply disruptions, not a political lever to be pulled when rising prices at the pump make life uncomfortable for the White House. Tapping the SPR now, given the looming threat of a major supply disruption caused by Iran, would be shortsighted and irresponsible.

“The president should use the tools that Congress gave him to force Iran to halt its nuclear program. If this fails and conflict results, we will need our emergency stockpiles to respond to the type of crisis the strategic reserves were created for in the first place – a major, economy threatening supply disruption. For this reason, it is critically important that the president does not prematurely release oil from the SPR.

“The best response to high gas prices is to increase domestic oil production in Alaska, offshore and in the West; approve Keystone XL and other pipelines; reign in EPA regulations that are putting refineries out of business; and provide states with waivers for seasonal fuel specifications.

“Calls to open the SPR should be all the evidence we need that supply has a critical impact on oil prices. For too long, we have depended on foreign sources of oil instead of producing our own tremendous resources. The current proponents of using the SPR have opposed drilling at every turn when prices were low, saying we didn’t need it. And now, when prices are high, those same voices are saying it will take too long to get new production going. It’s time to get serious about America’s energy security.”

Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.