WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, today urged the White House to use all tools at its disposal, including the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), to lower gas prices for Pennsylvania families and businesses as the price of oil has increased due to the unrest in the Middle East.
“The crisis in the Middle East has caused oil and gas prices to spike in recent days. Increased fuel costs are causing a greater burden on families and businesses already struggling during a fragile economic recovery,” wrote Senator Casey in a letter to President Obama. “America must secure its energy independence while strengthening the domestic market for clean energy technologies.”
In addition to pressing for the release of oil from the SPR, Senator Casey called on President Obama to take action to limit the impact of speculators on the price of oil and to use profits acquired through the sale of SPR oil to invest in our clean energy future. A greater investment in domestically-produced clean energy and energy efficient technology will work to protect the environment, safeguard the health of our families and reduce our nation's unsustainable dependence on foreign oil, Senator Casey wrote.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Mr. President:
The crisis in the Middle East has caused oil and gas prices to spike in recent days. Increased fuel costs are causing a greater burden on families and businesses already struggling during a fragile economic recovery. I urge you to use all of the tools at your disposal, including releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and targeting speculators, to reduce short-term fuel prices. As you know, previous releases from the SPR calmed oil markets and led to an immediate drop in the price of oil.
Instability and regional conflicts in the Middle East, as well as increasing demand from countries like China, have caused considerable volatility and price increases in the oil market. In light of these international forces affecting crude oil prices, there remain limited options for the U.S. to influence prices on the world market. Selling crude oil from the SPR is one alternative; taking affirmative action to limit the impact of speculators in the marketplace is another. We should consider all options to form a comprehensive solution.
It is imperative, however, that we work both short- and long-term solutions to address our ever-increasing energy demands. These solutions are also critical to protect our economy and our national security. They are essential to ensuring Pennsylvania families can afford to heat their homes and fill their gas tanks.
Selling our crude oil without revising our national energy policy will only temporarily delay a very significant national issue. That is why the profits acquired from the sale should be used to invest in our energy future. A smart energy policy will create new clean energy jobs, re-energize the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania and transform the national economy. America must secure its energy independence while strengthening the domestic market for clean energy technologies.
A greater investment in domestically-produced clean energy and energy efficient technology will work to protect the environment, safeguard the health of our families and reduce our nation's unsustainable dependence on foreign oil. For example, the Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard is a great example of how federal funds are being used to help develop technologies that will ultimately save energy, reduce pollution and position the United States as a leader in clean energy technology.
The time is right for new investments in a national energy policy that will create permanent new clean energy technology jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country. Pennsylvania has played a significant role in our energy history and I am confident it will play a vital role in our clean energy future.
Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator