WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tuesday, Alaska Congressman Don Young released the following statement in response to President Biden’s decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve:
“Across Alaska and the rest of our nation, hardworking American families are feeling the impacts of rising fuel prices. These costs touch every part of daily life. Whether it is increased heating expenses, more expensive groceries, or essential goods and services being out of reach, there is no doubt that oil prices and our dependence on OPEC are causing unnecessary stress on parents and their children. Today’s move by President Biden to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is historical, but not the kind of headline news that should be celebrated. Very frankly, we did not need to get to this point, and we are only here because the Administration has stifled American resource exploration and hamstrung our hardworking energy labor force at every turn. Congress created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a security strategy to protect our nation from oil shortages during natural and economic disasters. Let me be very clear: this is not a crisis necessitating a dip into our strategic oil reserves; rather, this is an emergency created purely by political malfeasance and broken promises. Anybody paying attention to this Administration’s energy policies is not surprised.
There is no reason for President Biden to release the reserves when so much domestic energy is readily available. Alaska is home to rich oil reserves, which we can extract with far higher environmental standards than Russia, Venezuela, or any OPEC member country. The tiny sliver of land on ANWR’s Coastal Plain stands ready to both alleviate this oil crisis and prevent us from opening our oil reserves. In 1980, then-Senator Joe Biden voted for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which allowed for oil extraction on ANWR’s Coastal Plain in the first place. Unfortunately, President Biden refuses to remember his vote as Senator Biden, because this Administration has acted to stop extraction on the Coastal Plain, snuffing out the potential for well-paying jobs and Alaskan-driven energy independence. The Biden Administration has repeatedly blocked American energy projects under the guise of preventing carbon emissions. I hate to break it to them, but fossil fuels from the Strategic Oil Reserve are still indeed carbon-emitting energy sources. Why then would we want to cut into our national safety net when we can get what American families truly need right from our own 49th state?
This is a sad day for our country, and it should have never gotten to this point. Higher gas prices hurt families, threaten jobs, stifle our economic recovery, and only make us more beholden to foreign interests. I strongly oppose withdrawing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, especially at a time where the holidays and the harshest winter nights are yet to come. This is reckless; we must ensure the reserve is fully stocked and ready for true emergencies. In the meantime, I call on President Biden to come visit Alaska’s North Slope with me. Meet with the hardworking men and women who keep our country moving and learn how they take care to balance energy exploration with the protection of our ecosystems. Alaska is a model for the nation, and I ask President Biden to allow us to do our part to lower gas prices and secure American energy independence.”
On November 19, 2021, Congressman Young sent a letter to President Biden and Energy Secretary Granholm expressing opposition to withdrawing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Click here for the letter.