TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner today called on President Bush to release 30 million barrels of national reserve oil supplies to lower gas prices at the pump this summer as part of a multi-pronged energy strategy that noticeably does not include what she calls the gimmick of a federal or state gas tax holiday.
“We’re in a fuel crisis that’s hitting everyone and President Bush should stop sitting on our strategic oil reserves,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “In 2000 when gas prices at the pump were skyrocketing, President Clinton ordered the release of a million barrels a day for 30 days and gas prices came down.”
Senator Turner late Monday introduced SR-68, a Senate resolution urging the President to release the fuel from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve which was set up during the energy crises of the 1970s. The request calls for a millions barrels a day for 30 days.
“Granted, this action initially would provide only short-term relief, but it will work now and into the long term when linked to other strategies designed to reduce consumption,” Senator Turner said. “Our automobile designers in Detroit have to continue perfecting fuel efficient vehicles while marketing hybrids and the use of alternate sources of energy.”
Senator Turner’s resolution (attached) noted that when the petroleum reserves were tapped in 2000, the action resulted in a net savings to taxpayers because the federal government replenished the 30 million barrels at lower prices.
The Turner resolution said one of the causes of the current jump in gas prices at the pump has been “the current Administration’s policy of continuing to fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve at the rate of hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.”
Senator Turner said she would request legislative action on her resolution ‘as soon as reasonably possible’ because of the emergent nature of the fuel price crisis on working families.
“My resolution, hopefully, will shed light on the President’s authority to literally turn on the spigot of the petroleum reserves and let it flow for the benefit of taxpayers,” Senator Turner said. “The President doesn’t need to convene an energy summit or go through congressional committees – he just has to act and act now.”