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House Democrats blocked the “Strategic Petroleum Response Act” on Tuesday in a sign of approval for President Joe Biden’s attempt to artificially bring down gas prices by tapping the nation’s emergency Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR).
If passed, the bill would have required the secretary of energy to develop plans to ramp up oil and gas production if the president orders a release from the emergency reserves for a non-emergency reason. In November, Biden tapped the reserves for 50 million barrels, or less than three days’ worth, to bring down high gas prices ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. High gas prices are hovering around $80 per barrel, but prices routinely eclipsed the $80 mark during the Obama administration, nullifying Biden’s emergency claim.
“America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve is one of the nation’s most valuable energy security tools, and this president and the Democrats are squandering it, using it for a political coverup for their anti-fossil fuel agenda,” said Michigan Republican Fred Upton on the House floor.
Feeling the political weight of soaring gas prices reaching seven-year highs, Biden ordered a release from the reserves just 11 months after suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands. While overturned by a federal judge in June, the delay in new leases threw a wrench into production, scaring off investors while suppressing exploration for new wells.
While gas prices have continued to decrease for their fifth consecutive week, they remain far higher than they ever were under President Donald Trump. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, November’s average retail gas price was $3.49 per gallon, a high not seen since August 2014. AAA travel agency reported that the national average gas price on Tuesday was $3.32 per gallon.
High power prices are a direct consequence of Biden’s war on cheap, reliable energy supplied by abundant fossil fuels. After the months-long suspension of new oil and gas leases, pressure on Wall Street investors to curtail investment, and outright bans on new drilling, the administration’s latest offense came last month when it pledged to raise fees for extraction on public land and water as part of the Interior Department’s overhaul of the program.
House Democrats, meanwhile, have cheered the administration’s crusade against the oil and gas industry with efforts to brand American energy producers as the next “Big Tobacco.”