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Biden's SPR Decision, New Fees Are Shortsighted, Unsustainable

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 31, 2022 -

Today, President Joe Biden announced an unprecedented drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), intending to place 1 million barrels of oil on the market every day for the next six months and increase fees on federal oil and gas leaseholders. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"The president's decision could not be more shortsighted. Instead of looking at the root cause of the energy crisis, his own assaults on American production, he's chosen to jeopardize our long-term energy and national security by depleting our strategic reserves. The SPR is supposed to be used for emergencies and national defense, not as a Band-Aid for crises of the administration’s own making. This is now the third time President Biden has issued historic releases in the past several months. Instead of supporting domestic production, President Biden has proposed new fees on permits and federal acreage for leaseholders - costs that will ultimately manifest as higher energy prices for American consumers. This administration has failed to issue a single new lease and is sitting on thousands of permits, rights-of-way and other authorizations necessary to use currently-held leases. Their inaction is the root cause of rising energy prices, and new taxes and fees are not the solution. President Biden must issue all necessary permits and rights-of-way and approve proposed pipeline projects so we can sustainably produce our own domestic energy. Instead, this administration is too caught up in radical Twitter ideologies to see reason. It's completely untenable, and Americans will continue feeling pain at the gas pump as a result."


In the past, U.S. presidents have only used the SPR during emergencies as a way to quickly correct the market and get it back to normal. Now, however, Biden has repeatedly used the SPR to compensate for the energy crisis he created by shutting down domestic oil and gas production.

In 2021, production on federal lands and waters represented 25 percent of the U.S. total crude oil produced and about 10 percent of the natural gas produced in the U.S.  Since demand does not decrease just because the Biden administration decides to stifle production, hampering energy development on federal land and waters has a notable impact on domestic energy prices and makes the U.S. more reliant on foreign oil and gas sources. The Biden administration has not issued any new onshore or offshore leases to date, despite statutory requirements to lease, and continues to delay issuing thousands of permits and rights-of-way. If the administration had issued new leases in 2021 and addressed its permit backlog, new production could be happening.

Gas and oil prices have risen steadily since Biden was elected. The Biden administration’s anti-energy policies have had a chilling effect on production. Halting the Keystone XL pipeline, oil and gas leasing on federal lands and the congressionally-authorized oil and gas program in the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife in Alaska, and threatening industry with regulation and taxes were all actions Biden took during his first days in office. While the recent increase in the price of gasoline is partly attributable to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that is far from the full story. Biden’s anti-energy policies that prevent American development have been driving up U.S. gasoline prices since day one.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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