Moniz: Harvey’s Destruction Demonstrates Value of Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with its supplies of crude oil and gasoline, was created by statute to protect the U.S. economy from “severe energy supply interruption.” This authority, exercised by a presidential declaration, can be used in the event of a disruption of either domestic or imported petroleum products.

The unprecedented rainfall, flooding and destruction from Hurricane Harvey this week has struck the energy nerve center of the nation and is exactly the kind of event of “significant scope and duration, and of an emergency nature” that the SPR was created to address.

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Houston Chronicle Op-ed: We Need a Modernized Strategic Reserve, Not a Smaller One

In late 2015, the Congress found that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was, "one of the nation's most valuable energy security assets." Why would the Trump Administration conclude, just a little over a year later, that the SPR is not so valuable after all?

The rationale for the administration's current budget recommendation - selling off more than half of the SPR's current inventory, shutting down two of four storage sites in Texas and Louisiana, and eliminating the Northeast Gasoline Reserve - was supported by Energy Secretary Rick Perry in congressional testimony last month.

That rationale, however - that we are producing a lot more domestic oil so we can close SPR sites - appears to be grounded in a view of oil markets in 1973.

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