To the editor: I was once a teacher and altogether too frequently found myself writing on a student’s paper their need to actually research their topic. Listening to Republican talking points on oil in general and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) specifically brings that advice to mind.
First, understand the intention behind the SPR. Federal law gives the president the power to draw down the reserves to alleviate supply disruptions such as the one created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Department of Energy offers the released oil for sale to an approved list of companies under competitive bid, therefore, generally above the price paid. Thanks to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (the product of a heavily Republican-controlled 114th Congress) companies making the purchases are free to export the oil outside the United States or to sell it to secondary buyers both inside and outside the U.S. In other words, there is nothing nefarious about oil going to China either directly or indirectly. The idea is to increase the supply of crude oil worldwide, which should, barring major changes in demand, bring down oil prices. Once the oil is sold, it is beyond U.S. government control.