FEMA: No Concerns About Florida's Post-Storm Fuel Needs, As Strategic Petroleum Reserve Hits 38-Year Low

Susan Jones | September 28, 2022 | 7:04am EDT
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Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Ian forecast to caue catastrophic storm surge, winds, flooding in Florida. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)
Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Ian forecast to caue catastrophic storm surge, winds, flooding in Florida. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

(CNSNews.com) - When Joe Biden took office in January 2021, the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve held 638,085,000 barrels of oil (10.63 percent below its current authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels).

Now, as of September 16th, the SPR holds 427,158,000 barrels, a 33.05 percent decrease from January 2021, and the lowest level since August 1984 (see chart here).

President Biden has been draining the SPR for political reasons, as his focus on renewable energy creates uncertainty for the fossil fuel industry that still powers most of America.

On November 23, 2021 -- three months before Russia invaded Ukraine -- Biden announced he would release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower "elevated gas prices at the pump" and home-heating bills.

And for the past six months, Biden has authorized the release of 1 million barrels a day as a "wartime bridge to increase oil supply until production ramps up later this year," he said in March. He noted at the time, "it is by far the largest release from our national reserve in our history."

Biden said he'd use "the revenue from selling the oil now to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when prices are lower so we’ll be ready — we’ll be ready for future emergencies."

One of those emergencies has already battered Puerto Rico and is now about to cause catastrophic damage to much of Florida.

FEMA Director Deanne Criswell was asked about that at Tuesday's White House press briefing:

"Is there a concern that the Reserve is not high enough now to handle the aftermath of this emergency and other hurricanes that could come?" the reporter asked Criswell.

"I don’t have any concerns at this point that we’re going to have the ability to handle the fuel needs that we’re going to need in Florida," Criswell said. "We will continue to assess after the storm passes to see what the impacts are. We’ll make sure that we’re putting measures in place to support any — any gaps that we might identify.

The reporter followed up: "And the rest of the season, you think you’re covered?"

"It all depends on what the impacts from this storm might bring on. And so we need to do those assessments after the storm passes," Criswell said.

According to the Energy Department: "The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil was established primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products and to carry out obligations of the United States under the international energy program.

"The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in huge underground salt caverns at four sites along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. The sheer size of the SPR (authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels) makes it a significant deterrent to oil import cutoffs and a key tool in foreign policy."

Also See:
Ratcliffe: Biden Creating 'Huge National Security Dent' by Tapping Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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