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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Environmentalists back Biden’s decision to tap into the oil reserve

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WASHINGTON – Generally Supported Democrats and Climate Activists From President Joe Biden decision of release a record 50 million barrels of oil of America’s strategic reserve, even as the move appeared to contradict its long-term vision of fighting climate change.

The action by the United States, announced on Tuesday in coordination with countries such as India, the United Kingdom and porcelain, Is aimed at global energy markets and helping to lower gas prices that have gone up more than a dollar a gallon since January. But it could also undermine Biden’s climate goals, including a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

However, some prominent weather hawks said they weren’t concerned about the move because they see it as a short-term solution to solving a specific problem. Sen. Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, who has focused on fighting climate change, said Biden was “taking effective steps to protect Americans from excessive oil price increases” even as the administration continues to push for renewable energy which it hopes will eventually mean less dependence on fossil fuels.

“That’s what reserves are for: defending our economy against disruption,” Markey tweeted. “Speculation cannot go unanswered, especially as Big Oil is making billions and fueling the climate crisis through exports.”

the Strategic oil reserve It is an emergency reserve to preserve access to oil in the event of natural disasters, national security issues, and other events. Maintained by the Department of Energy, the reserves are stored in caverns created in salt domes along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. There are approximately 605 million barrels of oil in the reserve.

Markey and other Democrats had urged Biden to release oil from the reserve to lower prices for consumers. There have also been calls on the president to reinstate a ban on crude oil exports that was lifted in 2015. Biden has made no move to reimpose the export ban, which was repealed by Republicans in Congress in an attempt to assert America’s energy dominance and promote domestic production.

Biden has authority under the legislation to declare an emergency and limit or stop oil exports for up to one year, but is not expected to do so.

Kelly Sheehan, senior director of energy campaigns for the Sierra Club, praised Biden’s actions as a way to ease the energy burden on Americans. But he said the current rise in oil prices was a reminder that “the only way to truly achieve energy security is to move quickly away from risky fossil fuels like oil and gas and make it easier for more people to access energy. clean”.

Lorne Stockman, research director at Oil Change International, an environmental group focused on creating a “fossil-free future,” said Biden should have acted sooner, if only to counter a barrage of Republican criticism blaming him for the high prices. of gasoline.

‚ÄúPresidents of high rankings are always blamed gas prices“Whether they have something to do with it or not,” said Stockman, calling the move a small step to provide short-term relief to American consumers.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said rising gasoline prices made the move necessary and would not distract him from his broader ambitions to move toward energy independence.

“My effort to combat climate change is not increasing the price of gas,” Biden said. “What it is doing is increasing the availability of job creation electric cars like the one I drove … in a GM factory in Detroit In the past week. ”

Americans who buy electric cars will save up to $ 1,000 in fuel costs this year, Biden said, “and we will make those savings available to more Americans and create jobs by installing solar panels.” batteries and electric heat pumps. We can make our economy and consumers less vulnerable to these kinds of price spikes when we do that. “

Biden said the White House was investigating a possible price hike by oil companies squeezing out customers while making a profit with lower costs. And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said US companies were keeping production below pre-pandemic levels to boost profits.

the coronavirus pandemic it has shaken the energy markets. When the closings began in April 2020, demand collapsed and oil futures prices turned negative. Energy traders didn’t want to be stuck with crude they couldn’t store. But as the economy recovered, prices rose to a seven-year high in October.

Sen. John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, called Biden’s use of the strategic reserve, along with calls on OPEC and Russia to increase production, “desperate attempts to address a Biden-caused disaster” and no substitute for increased US energy production.

Lukas Ross, manager of climate and energy justice for Friends of the Earth, another environmental group, said the rise in gasoline prices shows that “our continued reliance on a volatile compound that is literally cooking the weather is exactly why the one we need “. social and environmental bill approved asap.

the 2 trillion dollar bill, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate, includes about $ 550 billion for climate change efforts, including proposals to boost wind and solar power and support electric vehicles. Republicans unanimously oppose the measure.

Biden has said the United States needs to transition away from dependence on oil, and “now is the time to deliver on that promise urgently. speeding the transition to electric cars and a renewable energy grid, ” said Kassie Siegel, director of a climate law institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, another environmental group.

“Price volatility will always be part of the big oil playbook,” he added. “We are going to break his hold on our economy once and for all.”

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