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Jennifer Granholm Warns Republicans Limiting Biden's Authority Will Undermine National Security


By The White House

In a strongly worded letter to Republican leaders, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned Wednesday that limiting President Joe Biden's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would undermine national security, cause crude shortages and raise gasoline prices.


"The Department of Energy is not going to stand by and allow this Congress to cripple our ability to respond to a potential energy emergency," Granholm wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.


The warning by Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, came as Republicans prepared legislation that would give greater authority to the president to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which currently holds about 700 million barrels of crude oil.


Jennifer Granholm’s Warning to Republicans

Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. Energy Secretary, warned Republicans in a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday that limiting President Joe Biden's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would undermine national security, cause crude shortages and raise gasoline prices.


How Limiting Authority Will Put National Security at Risk

In the letter, Granholm said that limiting Biden's authority "would put our nation's energy security at risk, cause shortages of crude oil and gasoline and lead to significant price increases at the pump."


The letter was sent in response to a proposal by some Republican lawmakers to give Congress more authority over the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.


Potential Crude Shortages and Rising Gasoline Prices

In her letter, Secretary Granholm warned that limiting President Biden's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would cause crude shortages and lead to rising gasoline prices. She also argued that such limitations would weaken the country's energy security as the president would be unable to respond quickly to any disruptions in domestic or world oil supplies. Furthermore, such limits could have a detrimental effect on government revenue, since proceeds from emergency sales of crude oil are used to fund the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.


Prior Examples of Presidential Use of Oil Reserves

When presidents have needed to use the nation's oil reserves in the past, they have done so in order to manage national security, smooth out supply disruptions, and reduce prices for consumers. For instance, President George W. Bush made four separate releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2005 and 2006 due to hurricane damage to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. President Barack Obama tapped into the reserves twice during his tenure, once during the Arab Spring in 2011 and again during a freeze on Libyan oil supplies in 2014. These moves not only stabilized energy prices domestically but had implications for global energy markets as well.


What Is the Effect of This on Energy Markets?

Limiting Biden's authority to tap the nation's oil reserves would create a major impact on energy markets. By reducing the supply of oil, this could lead to an increase in gasoline prices and cause shortages of crude oil. Furthermore, Granholm argued that such restrictions could damage the U.S.'s national security efforts by weakening the nation’s ability to respond quickly to situations threatening global energy security. With these warnings in mind, it is clear that any decision to limit Biden's authority would have a profound effect on energy markets.


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