WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today commented on the Obama Administration’s plan to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

“President Obama’s decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve due to unrest in Libya is curious to say the least,” said Inhofe. “The resources in the SPR are only meant to be tapped during national emergencies. Yet the President’s justification for sidestepping Congressional authorization is that the operation Libya is not a war effort but solely a humanitarian mission.  Given the announcement today, are we to assume that the operation has changed course? The President needs to provide a full explanation for this.    

The SPR has been used under emergency circumstances only twice: once during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and once after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

“Today’s announcement further demonstrates the critical need for the United States to increase domestic energy production.  Continuing to rely on supplies from the Middle East puts our troops in harm’s way and our security at risk.  Contrary to what President Obama likes to claim, we have plenty of resources here at home: the only impediment to developing them is his Administration.”   

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) America has 163 billion barrels of recoverable oil, which is enough to maintain our current levels of production and replace our imports from the Middle East for more than 50 years.