Politics trumps national security – Lake County Daily Herald

July 7, 2011

Politics trumps national security

On Friday, June 24, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the Obama administration’s agreement with the International Energy Agency to put 60 million barrels of oil on the market during the next 30 days — 30 million from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves and 30 million from the other 27 OPEC nations — as a way to counter the supply reduction of oil resulting from the war in Libya.

In the past, a drawdown took place only after a significant reduction in supply of a significant scope and duration; a resultant severe increase in price of petroleum products; a price increase that would likely cause a major adverse impact on the nation’s economy.

Why does it appear that the president is using his bad poll numbers to raid what is a national security inventory of oil designed to protect this nation against a severe energy supply disruption as his solution to drive down prices at the pump?

The global market uses more than 84 million barrels of oil a day. Over a 30-day period. an additional 60 million barrels would supply only 2 million barrels a day. Libya produces roughly 1.5 million barrels a day with most of that delivered to Europe. The 30 million-barrel drawdown will leave America’s petroleum reserve at 115 days of import protection. Unknown to many is that the U.S. is obligated to have in reserve 90 days’ worth of imported crude. What was removed must be replaced expediently.

Since oil prices have already fallen from their early-May peaks of near $115 a barrel, why the SPR release now?

Stealing petroleum from Strategic Petroleum Reserves might lower the price of gasoline at the pump by fifteen or twenty cents a gallon in the short-term, but it does nothing to solve this nation’s critical, long-term energy problem which calls for a sensible energy policy to lift up the economy.

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