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Congress Slams Biden's 'Unacceptable' Depletion of Strategic Petroleum Reserve

This week, the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing on President Biden's aggressive draining of the United States' Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that has reduced the emergency stockpile to its lowest level in more than 40 years. 


Subcommittee Chairman Pat Fallon (R-TX) explained in his opening statement that the "decisions that led to the largest drawdown of our vital oil in history requires oversight" and noted that at its height, "the SPR was at 595 million barrels" while former President Trump was in office. "It now sits at 371 million barrels, a 47 percent reduction," Fallon said.

Explaining how the United States got to a point where nearly half its strategic stockpile of oil was depleted in roughly two years, Fallon reminded that one of President Joe Biden's first actions after taking office was canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, "killing thousands of high-paying American jobs and openly attacking the oil and gas industry."

The Biden administration continued to wage its war on U.S. energy and fossil fuels when they "placed a moratorium on federal and offshore oil and natural gas leases," Fallon added.

Americans likely remember the consequences of these actions as the national average for a gallon of unleaded or diesel spiked to their all-time highs in the summer of 2022, "forcing Americans already struggling with out-of-control inflation to foot the bill for poor policy."

In order to bring the price of gas down a bit, President Biden decided to drain the SPR even though the emergency necessitating its use was caused by Biden's own policies and entirely avoidable. Since tapping into the SPR, the Biden administration has drained more from the strategic reserve in two years than all presidents withdrew over the previous 46 years. 


While Biden was drawing oil from the SPR, the White House continued to try blaming Vladimir Putin for skyrocketing gas prices, Fallon noted.

"Despite the administration’s flimsy claim that “Putin’s Price Hike” necessitated the drawdowns, the truth is that Mr. Biden set us up for failure long before Russia crossed the border into Ukraine," Fallon said before criticizing Biden for turning to "mini-Putins like Venezuela to increase production instead of just unleashing the American energy sector."

Here at home, Fallon reminded, Biden demonized oil and gas companies and accused them of "price gouging" even while continuing to ramp up his war on oil and gas as well as American energy production. Remember, President Biden has pledged to "end" fossil fuels. 

But that quixotic campaign doesn't come without the consequences with which Americans have become all too familiar. Again, as Fallon noted, Biden used the SPR to try and paper over some of the damaging consequences of Biden's energy policy — even using the SPR "as a stopgap to lower energy prices before the November midterm elections."

Fallon also criticized the Biden administration for selling off American oil — to the tune of "millions of barrels" — to "companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." No wonder China doesn't take Biden's rare threats against them seriously. 

"Why is the Biden Administration depleting our own emergency stockpiles to benefit foreign adversaries?" Fallon asked. "China has nearly one billion barrels of oil in their reserves," he noted, while the U.S. has "just about a third of that. That is unacceptable," Fallon declared.


As the Texas Republican explained, "the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was formed to protect our country in a time of war, national emergency, or from the effects of an act of God," none of which have occurred to the extent that would require draining nearly half of the SPR's inventory.

"So why under this administration were 267 million barrels depleted from our emergency reserve?" Fallon asked, noting that query is fundamental to providing oversight of the Biden administration's handling of the SPR. "Did Joe Biden risk our national security and deplete our reserves by over 40 percent in a vain attempt to curry short-term political gain before a midterm election?"

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