A bipartisan coalition of oil state senators led by North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven and Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones has introduced an emergency measure in the Senate that would provide $3 billion in funding to purchase American crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Hoeven’s coalition includes Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., as well as Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
Hoeven said the benefits of the measure are two-fold.
“Oil and gas producers in North Dakota and across the nation provide essential support for our economy and are vital to our national security,” he said. “I’m leading this bipartisan, bicameral legislation because it will not only support our energy industry but benefit American taxpayers with greater economic and national security. We need to pass this legislation to fund the purchase of U.S. crude for the SPR, which will help relieve supply pressures and support a vital U.S. industry and its workers.”
Jones, meanwhile, said the pandemic has underscored the need to have adequate reserves on hand. That includes energy.
“As oil prices continue to be wracked by this crisis and production disputes overseas, we have the opportunity to replenish our Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a low cost to taxpayers,” he said. “This bill will help ensure that we as a country are ready and prepared for future crises, and will aid in stabilizing our national economy.”
The measure will be carried on the House side by Texas Representatives, Democrat Lizzie Fletcher and Republican Michael Burgess.
“Domestic production of oil and natural gas is essential to our national security, our economy, and our energy future, including our ability to drive innovation and production of cleaner energy,” Fletcher said. “Our energy producers are facing an unprecedented challenge that will have long-term ramifications for our energy independence and our energy future. Congress has an opportunity to provide relief for those who produce the energy we use every day and to make a strategic purchase that benefits all Americans. I am proud to join with Senator Hoeven, Senator Jones, and Congressman Burgess to introduce this legislation with broad, bipartisan support to do just that.”
Burgess, meanwhile, urged that the legislation be taken up quickly.
“Filling the SPR is a targeted, prudent action that would allow the department to act quickly to address a temporary oversupply of oil in the market,” he said. “This legislation would improve the energy security of the United States, save taxpayer money, and address the shortage of storage for crude oil, while also giving American producers a brief window of relief to make plans for the new realities in the marketplace.