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The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Protects America

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This week saw conflicting reports regarding the President's intentions to release oil onto the market from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727 million barrel oil reserve that was created in response to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, which cut the physical supply of oil to the U.S. market.

In the 36 years since Congress voted to create the SPR, U.S. presidents have tapped the emergency oil stockpile only three times. The first President Bush authorized an emergency release during the first Gulf War in 1991, and his son as President released 11 million barrels in 2005 just after Hurricane Katrina struck in the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the reserves last year in the wake of "Arab Spring" and could do it again soon.

Yesterday, the European news service, Reuters, reported that President Obama had discussed a release from the SPR with British Prime Minister David Cameron. White House press secretary Jay Carney denied the claim.

"Releasing oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve now is a badly flawed idea," said Rodney, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. "The SPR was created to protect America in the event of a genuine emergency. Just as we cannot allow our national security strategy to be undercut by politics, the President should not use the SPR to paper over a flawed long-term energy security strategy."

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