Former President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday blasting his successor over a decision to release tens of millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic reserve stockpile.
At the same time, Trump reminded Biden and the country that the reserves languished for years before he made the decision to top them off because he felt it was a national security issue.
“For decades our country’s very important Strategic Oil Reserves were low or virtually empty in that no President wanted to pay the price of filling them up,” Trump said.
“I filled them up three years ago, right to the top, when oil prices were very low. Those reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else,” the former president said.
“Now I understand that Joe Biden will be announcing an ‘attack’ on the newly brimming Strategic Oil Reserves so that he could get the close to record-setting high oil prices artificially lowered,” he continued.
“We were energy independent one year ago, now we are at the mercy of OPEC, gasoline is selling for $7 in parts of California, going up all over the country, and they are taking oil from our Strategic Reserves. Is this any way to run a country?” Trump asked.
The White House put out a statement as to why Biden made his decision to release about 50 million barrels of oil from the reserve:
Over the last 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic forced an unprecedented global economic shutdown. As the world is re-opening from a near economic standstill, countries across the globe are grappling with the challenges that arise as consumer demand for goods outpaces supply.
But here in the United States, the economic recovery is stronger and faster than anywhere else in the world – according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US is the only one of the major economies to have returned to pre-pandemic gross domestic product levels – in large part due to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which funded and facilitated a nationwide vaccination program, provided resources to schools and small businesses to keep them open in the face of COVID waves and put money in the pockets of those hit hardest by the pandemic.
As a result of the strong recovery in the United States, Americans have nearly $100 more per month in disposable income in their pockets this year, even as COVID has continued to complicate the economic recovery around the world.
Even so, American consumers are feeling the impact of elevated gas prices at the pump and in their home heating bills, and American businesses are, too, because oil supply has not kept up with demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic.
That’s why President Biden is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply.
The President has been working with countries across the world to address the lack of supply as the world exits the pandemic. And, as a result of President Biden’s leadership and our diplomatic efforts, this release will be taken in parallel with other major energy consuming nations including China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
This culminates weeks of consultations with countries around the world, and we are already seeing the effect of this work on oil prices. Over the last several weeks as reports of this work became public, oil prices are down nearly 10 percent.
The U.S. Department of Energy will make available releases of 50 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in two ways:
- 32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, releasing oil that will eventually return to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the years ahead. The exchange is a tool matched to today’s specific economic environment, where markets expect future oil prices to be lower than they are today, and helps provide relief to Americans immediately and bridge to that period of expected lower oil prices. The exchange also automatically provides for re-stocking of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over time to meet future needs.
- 18 million barrels will be an acceleration into the next several months of a sale of oil that Congress had previously authorized.
The President stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic.