Granholm Defends SPR Release: 'This Is a Wartime Footing'

Susan Jones | October 20, 2022 | 5:13am EDT
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm listens to President Joe Biden announce another release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on October 19, 2022. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm listens to President Joe Biden announce another release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on October 19, 2022. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN on Wednesday the U.S. is "on a wartime footing," and that justifies another 15-million-barrel release from the nation's emergency oil stockpile -- the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

CNN's John Berman asked Granholm, "What do you say to critics who say this -- this is beyond what the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was really intended for?"

"No, this is a wartime footing," Granholm said.

"The president declared an emergency back in March, when we first decided that we would be releasing a million barrels per day.

"Why is that? It's because Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia is a major oil producer. When they invaded Ukraine, and all these countries said that they were not going to accept Russian oil, that pulled millions of barrels off the market.

"We also know that the U.K., that the E.U. are taking action, again, to stop the import of Russian fossil fuels. That may have another impact. We have seen what OPEC has done. The point is, it's traded on a global market. We are subject to what global actions are doing.

"But we can't -- we have the biggest supply of any country in the world, which is our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We have over 400 million barrels in it. And we're going to do what we can to try to stabilize prices in the United States."

At the end of September, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve had dropped to a 38-year low, with 416,389,000 barrels of oil -- 34.74 percent below the 638,086,000 barrels at the end of January 2021, when Joe Biden became president. The SPR's current maximum capacity is 714,000,000 barrels.

President Biden, in announcing the SPR release on Wednesday, dismissed Republican claims that the move was a politically motivated bid to lower gas prices ahead of the midterm election.

“Look, it’s makes sense,” Biden told reporters after making the announcement at the White House. “I’ve been doing this for how long now? It’s not politically motivated at all.”

According to Granholm, "[W]e want to increase that supply to try to bring down prices and to moderate supply and demand as we move into this winter."

Granholm told CNN, "We know that, I mean, oil and gas is not going away. We certainly hope that there is a movement to electrify transportation. But we also hope that the oil and gas industry diversify into energy companies that are more broad than just fossil fuels. We know that we're going to have fossil fuels. But we also know we're going to have clean energy.

"And one of the announcements today that the president made was to invest in the battery supply chain for electric vehicles, so that the United States is creating jobs here, instead of relying on supply from China."

The Biden administration, through the bipartisan infrastructure law, on Wednesday announced it will distribute $2.8 billion to 20 companies across the nation (some in battleground states) to build electric batteries.

"This is so exciting, John, because we all know that we want to be able to bring manufacturing back to the United States. And the president is determined to bring supply chains back here," Granholm said.

"And, by the way, of course, the batteries for the electric vehicles, if you're -- if we are able to bring down the cost of electric vehicles by expanding supply of battery manufacturing in the United States, driving that down, the price of that technology, and the tax credits that were a part of the Inflation Reduction Act, meaning that everyday citizens can get $7,500 at the dealer off of a car that's manufactured in the United States, that brings down the price, too."

Berman noted that of the 20 companies getting a share of the $2.8 billion, some are in the competitive battleground states of Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada.

"Absolutely not," there's nothing political about the awards, Granholm insisted.

"This is done by the scientists at our national labs, the professionals who are determining which of these proposals have the best chance of being successful in the United States. You will notice there was none in Delaware. There was none in Michigan. There was -- these are all done based upon the excellence of the proposals."

According to the announcement, "Of the 20 companies selected, five will build new facilities in disadvantaged communities, and 15 in locations adjacent to disadvantaged communities."

Additionally, "The funded projects will help employ workers from many different construction and industrial unions, and 15 of the projects will collaborate with minority serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to hire and train workers."

mrc merch