The White House is considering opening up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to get prices under control. But several Republicans–including Mississippi Congressmen Michael Guest–believe that instead, the Biden Administration needs to reopen oil and gas production on federal lands, which would equate to a 20% increase in domestic production.
They sent a letter to the Biden Administration last Thursday expressing their concerns.
“Gas prices have and will continue to rise due to production restrictions on federal lands, cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and heightened environmental regulations, including those on methane emissions… We should not extract oil from the SPR to address a self-inflicted crisis caused by this administration… Rather, it would be in our best interest to reopen oil and gas production on federal lands, which would equate to a 20% increase in our domestic oil production,” the Members write.
The letter came days before reports of the Administration’s potential announcement to use SPR reserves to curb rising gas prices. After learning of the potential announcement, Congressman Guest released the following statement:
“This decision would place our country at risk by tapping into our only emergency reserve of petroleum. President Biden’s decision to restrict domestic drilling has made us more reliant on OPEC, Russia, and other foreign countries for oil, which has driven up domestic prices. Instead of using our reserves, President Biden could lift these unnecessary restrictions, increasing our ability to supply our own oil by up to 20 percent. Simply admitting his mistake and reversing those decisions would help ease gas prices without placing our country at an elevated risk during a national crisis,” Guest said.
Some Democrats have joined Republicans in opposing this proposal, including U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who shared the position with Republicans that the SPR should be reserved for times of emergency.
Analysts have warned that the use of the SPR to reduce gas prices would only have a short-term impact on the price of gas.