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Day Seven: Free Our Oil From Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Today, President Bush announced he is lifting a 1990 executive order banning offshore drilling off the coast of the United States. But experts agree that rescinding this ban will do nothing to bring down the high price of gasoline at the pump for American families or businesses.  

“…access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017…Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.”
- Energy Information Administration Report [2007]

“If we were to drill today, realistically speaking, we should not expect a barrel of oil coming out of this new resource for three years, maybe even five years, so let's not kid ourselves.”
- Fadel Gheit, oil and gas analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. Equity Capital Markets Division [CNN, 7/14/08]

Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have called on the President to draw down a small portion of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to immediately expand available supplies, send a strong message to oil speculators, and help reduce the record prices that are helping push the economy toward recession.

A handful of Congressional Republicans also agree that releasing small amount of oil from the SPR would be a short-term step forward that would be felt by American consumers at the pump.  

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN)
President Bush “could take 25 percent of the (reserve) and throw it on the market, and that would effectively stop (oil) speculation…Even though it's a short-term infusion, it would be such a shot in the arm to supply that prices would come down.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/10/08]

Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
“I don't see anything wrong with it…If the reserves are for strategic purposes, it looks to me like $4-a-gallon gas is a strategic purpose.” [Shreveport Times, 7/14/08]
 
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an “acceptable short-term proposal.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/10/08]