An oil CEO said the White House put the United States in a "very precarious position" after another significant release of oil from U.S. reserves.
After President Biden announced an additional 15 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) would be released to combat rising gas prices just weeks before the midterm elections, one American oil industry leader is now calling it the "strategic political reserve."
CriticismAfter receiving criticism from GOP lawmakers that he's misusing the SPR, Biden said the release of oil is not being done for political reasons. Some Republicans and oil industry officials have alleged that the Biden administration is only releasing oil in a bid to keep gas prices relatively low before the 2022 midterms.
But in Thursday's interview, Sommers disagreed with that assertion. Instead, he argued that the Biden administration's policies have clamped down on U.S. oil production since he took office last year.
"We're currently at a point where we have less federal leasing from this administration than we've had in any administration since World War II," Sommers said. "We're at record-level lows. At this point in the Obama administration, they'd done 60 leases in the offshore. So far, [Biden's] only done six."
LawsMeanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called for legal safeguards to prevent the SPR from being used for political purposes after the latest release of oil.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was designed for an emergency time period. He’s using it trying to manipulate an election,” McCarthy said.
The stockpile, he added, should only be used after natural disasters and during times of war.
During its peak in 2010, the SPR held approximately 726 million barrels. Around 400 million barrels remain after the latest release.