From a release out of Sen. David Vitter’s office comes something interesting – which of course won’t pass in a Democrat Senate but might well generate enough of a controversy that the right people can be embarrassed in an election year. In advance of what the experts are saying will be a very ugly runup in crude and gasoline prices this summer (to the extent that $5-per-gallon gasoline is being seriously discussed), Vitter has a bill in the hopper now which stops the president from using the political stunt of releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve once the price starts rising…
U.S. Sen. David Vitter introduced a bill earlier this week, S.2100, along with U.S. Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), to prohibit opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve unless the Keystone XL Pipeline permit is issued. This week the White House signaled that it may open the SPR if oil prices continue to rise.
“The White House’s domestic energy priorities are so mixed up right now that they’d rather open our strategic reserves than allow us to increase our own domestic production,” Vitter said. “The Keystone XL pipeline is yet another example of the president putting a political agenda in front of common-sense energy policy. It’s as if this administration had never heard of the economics of supply and demand…unless it becomes politically expedient to release from our strategic reserves to influence gas prices when there is a looming election.”
Vitter, Hoeven and Lugar have also introduced legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project under Congress’s authority enumerated in the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
Immediately after the State of the Union last month, Vitter and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) urged President Obama to lift restrictions on the development of oil and gas, as well as alternative sources of energy, on federal lands in order to spur job creation and boost the economy. They also explained why making the strategic reserve the only tool available would be a mistake, and that approving Keystone XL pipeline and providing more access to both onshore and offshore resources would be a better way forward.
Last year, Vitter introduced 3-D: The Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011, which would create more than 2 million jobs, $10 trillion in economic activity and $2 trillion in federal tax receipts (according to conservative 30-year estimates) by unleashing America’s vast domestic energy potential.