Manchin, Cruz Reveal New Bipartisan Bill Halting Biden From Selling Emergency Oil Reserves To China
The Biden administration’s draining of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to four-decade lows to ease market tightness drew sharp criticism from the fossil fuel industry and Republican lawmakers. What ignited controversy last summer was when one SPR shipment was delivered to an entity tied with the Chinese Communist Party.
Now a group of bipartisan lawmakers wants to ensure America’s emergency crude oil reserves are never sent to China again.
On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and several other lawmakers introduced the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act.
The bipartisan legislation would prohibit exporting crude oil from the SPR to China. A similar piece of legislation was recently passed in the US House of Representatives by a large majority, 331-97.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a vital piece of our nation’s infrastructure that bolsters our energy and national security. While the reserve has been a policy Band-Aid for rising gas prices and the global unrest caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the reserve is, above-all, meant to help the United States and our allies through difficult times, not to help China power its economy,” Manchin, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wrote in a statement.
He continued: “This bill would ensure that we are not risking our energy security by selling our petroleum reserves to China, and the bipartisan support this legislation has received shows just how important it is for America to be energy secure and independent.”
The latest Department of Energy data shows the Biden administration drained the SPR to the lowest levels since 1983, all in an attempt to ease crude market tightness.
What sparked outrage was when Biden sent 5.9 million barrels to a Chinese firm last July. This is because strategic reserves are to ensure domestic energy security.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was intended to ensure that America had sufficient oil reserves in the event of an emergency. Under no circumstances should we sell any part of this stockpile to the Chinese Communist Party or any company under its control.
“We need to immediately act to stop this from happening in the future and unleash American energy, and I’m proud to work with my colleagues and Sen. Joe Manchin on this important, bipartisan issue,” Cruz said in a statement.
The SPR is the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil, with four storage sites in Texas and Louisiana designed to alleviate significant oil supply shortages during major geopolitical events or natural disasters. The steep declines by Biden, who blamed Russia’s Ukraine war for the “price hike at the pump,” has been hellbent on draining the reserves.
Some good news: Biden Administration plans to replenish the SPR later this year.
Remember a few years ago when former President Trump received criticism for his plan to fill up the SPR when crude prices crashed?
Also, we might add that gas and diesel prices at the pump are elevated because the US has a refinery capacity problem.