Many environmentalists back Biden’s move to tap oil reserve

Nov 23, 2021, 7:05 AM | Updated: Nov 28, 2021, 8:34 am
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second ...

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. The White House on Tuesday said it had ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from strategic reserve to bring down energy costs. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and climate activists generally supported President Joe Biden’s decision to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve, even as the move appeared to contradict his long-term vision of combating climate change.

The U.S. action, announced Tuesday in coordination with countries such as India, the United Kingdom and China, is aimed at global energy markets and helping lower gasoline prices that have risen more than a dollar per gallon since January. But it could also undermine Biden’s climate goals, including a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Some leading climate hawks, however, said they were not concerned by the move because they see it as a short-term fix to meet a specific problem. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who has focused on combating climate change, said Biden was “taking effective action to protect Americans from oil price gouging” even as the administration continues to boost renewable energy that it hopes will eventually mean less dependence on fossil fuels.

“This is what reserves are for — defending our economy against disruption,´´ Markey tweeted. “Profiteering can’t go unanswered, especially as Big Oil makes billions and fuels the climate crisis through exports.´´

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency stockpile to preserve access to oil in case of natural disasters, national security issues and other events. Maintained by the Energy Department, the reserves are stored in caverns created in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. There are roughly 605 million barrels of petroleum in the reserve.

Markey and other Democrats had urged Biden to release oil from the reserve to ease prices on consumers. There have also been calls on the president to reinstate a ban on crude oil exports that was lifted in 2015. Biden has made no move to reimpose the export ban, which was repealed by congressional Republicans in a bid to assert U.S. energy dominance and promote domestic production.

Biden has authority under the legislation to declare an emergency and limit or stop oil exports for up to a year but is not expected to do so.

Kelly Sheehan, senior director of energy campaigns with the Sierra Club, hailed Biden’s actions as a way to ease Americans’ energy burdens. But she said the current spike in oil prices was a reminder that “the only way to truly achieve energy security is to rapidly transition away from risky fossil fuels like oil and gas and make it easier for more people to access clean energy.´´

Lorne Stockman, research director of Oil Change International, an environmental group focused on creating a “fossil-free future,´´ said Biden should have acted sooner, if only to counter a barrage of Republican criticism blaming him for high gasoline prices.

“Presidents are always blamed for high gas prices, whether they have anything to do with it or not,´´ Stockman said, calling the measure a small step to bring short-term relief to American consumers.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said the rise in gas prices made the move necessary and that it wouldn’t distract from his larger ambitions of moving toward energy independence.

“My effort to combat climate change is not raising the price of gas,” Biden said. “What it is doing is increasing the availability of jobs building electric cars like the one I drove … in a GM factory in Detroit last week.”

Americans who buy electric cars will save up to $1,000 in fuel costs this year, Biden said, “and we’re going to put those savings within reach of more Americans and create jobs installing solar panels, batteries and electric heat pumps. We can make our economy and consumers less vulnerable to these sorts of price spikes when we do that.”

Biden said the White House was looking into potential price gouging by oil companies squeezing customers while making money off lower costs. And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said U.S. companies were keeping production below pre-pandemic levels in order to increase profits.

The coronavirus pandemic has roiled energy markets. As closures began in April 2020, demand collapsed and oil futures prices turned negative. Energy traders did not want to get stuck with crude that they could not store. But as the economy recovered, prices jumped to a seven-year high in October.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., called Biden’s use of the strategic reserve, along with calls for OPEC and Russia to increase production, “desperate attempts to address a Biden-caused disaster” and no substitute for increased American energy production.

Lukas Ross, manager of climate and energy justice at Friends of the Earth, another environmental group, said the spike in gas prices shows that “our continued dependence on a volatile compound that is literally cooking the climate is exactly why we need” Biden’s sweeping social and environmental bill approved as quickly possible.

The $2 trillion bill, which has been approved in the House and is pending in the Senate, includes about $550 billion for climate change efforts, including proposals to boost wind and solar power and support electric vehicles. Republicans unanimously oppose the measure.

Biden has said the U.S. needs to transition away from oil dependence, and “now is the moment to keep that promise by urgently speeding the transition to electric cars and a renewable energy grid,” said Kassie Siegel, director of a climate law institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, another environmental group.

“Price volatility will always be part of Big Oil’s playbook,” she added. “Let’s break their stranglehold on our economy once and for all.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Among the least graphic signage used by anti-abortion activists are these two that face the parking...
Associated Press

At historic abortion arguments, conservatives signal changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority are suggesting they may make sweeping changes to limit abortion rights in the United States. The high court is hearing arguments Wednesday in which the justices are being asked to overrule the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and its 1992 ruling […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

WHO nations launch steps toward deal to fight pandemics

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to launch work toward an international agreement to help prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the consensus decision during a special session […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

‘Our miracle’: Girl goes home after surviving plane crash

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An 11-year-old girl who survived a Michigan plane crash that killed her father and three other people was released Wednesday from a rehabilitation hospital. “She’s Laney, she’s great and she’s our miracle,” said Christie Perdue of Gaylord, referring to daughter Laney Perdue. Laney was one of five people in a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Discount airlines Allegiant and Viva Aerobus seek alliance

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Budget airlines Allegiant and Viva Aerobus said Wednesday they will seek antitrust immunity from the U.S. and Mexican governments to form an alliance that will include working together on setting schedules and routes across the border. Las Vegas-based Allegiant said it will invest $50 million in the Mexican carrier as part […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ugandan soldiers enter Congo to fight extremist ADF rebels

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda deployed foot soldiers inside Congolese territory, intensifying a military assault against rebels accused of attacking civilians in Congo and Uganda, according to a Ugandan military official. An unknown number of Ugandan infantry troops crossed the border into eastern Congo Wednesday, the day after Uganda launched artillery and airstrikes on bases […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Daystar CEO Marcus Lamb dies after COVID diagnosis

DALLAS (AP) — Marcus Lamb, CEO and founder of the conservative Christian Daystar Television Network who was outspoken against COVID-19 vaccines, has died at age 64 after contracting the virus. Daystar confirmed his death Tuesday. “It’s with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus Lamb, president and founder of Daystar Television Network, went home to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Many environmentalists back Biden’s move to tap oil reserve