Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced legislation that would prevent the government from opening the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve for nonemergency reasons until it develops a plan to boost oil and gas production on federal lands.
The bill, which was introduced on Tuesday and is co-sponsored by each of the committee's 10 Republican members, follows the Biden administration's recent decision to make 50 million barrels of SPR crude oil available to refiners and other energy companies in an effort to ease high gasoline prices.
“Before tapping the Reserve for political reasons, our bill requires the administration to issue a plan to boost federal oil and natural gas production," said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the top Republican on the committee. "The Strategic Production Response Act provides a real solution to the Biden administration’s reckless policies. America is stronger and safer when we are energy independent.”
Republicans have accused the administration of waging a war on domestic oil and gas production, and parts of the industry have said that President Joe Biden's stance on fossil fuels has discouraged production.
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Biden has tried to avoid calling on domestic producers to increase supply. Instead, he's asked OPEC to increase production and called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into possible gouging by the industry, in addition to releasing oil from the SPR.