Monday, April 14, 2008

McCain breaks ranks on filling the SPR

Another U.S. senator has come out against buying up more and more oil for our emergency store while prices are so high.

This time, it’s from the other side of the aisle and you might call him a guy with some standing these days. Sen. John McCain addressed the economy last week in a speech before a small-business roundtable in New York.

The most important item in my opinion was his comment on adding oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. McCain said there was an adequate supply in the SPR and it was time to “suspend purchases.”

This breaks with the policy of the Bush administration, which wants to keep buying sweet light crude and storing it underground. This course of action might give us a massive stash of oil in case of emergency, but right now it’s simply forcing the price of oil higher.

This is an issue that OOIDA has been pushing for since January as truckers are in desperate need of relief, and not the kind that it takes two years to realize.

Last week I blogged about Sen. Byron Dorgan, who introduced legislation to suspend purchases for the SPR back in February, and is in an uproar about it as well. Dorgan is a Democrat from North Dakota. Until McCain spoke out on Thursday, April 10, Maine’s Susan Collins was the only other GOP senator to speak out on putting the brakes on the SPR fill.

Here’s what the Arizona senator said: “Right now I think we should stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The SPR is intended to offset the impact of physical disruption of oil supplies. But with oil at over $100 a barrel and an adequate supply in the SPR, it is time to suspend purchases. This will lessen worldwide demand for oil, and if the classic laws of supply and demand hold, we should see a welcome decrease in the price of oil. And I ask every American to consider how you can sacrifice a bit for the common good and cut back where you can on your energy use.”

McCain said he plans to “pursue a national energy strategy that won’t be another grab bag of handouts and a full employment act for lobbyists. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources, including a robust expansion of nuclear power, that will in sufficient time break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector.”

This is good news not only for Sen. Dorgan and the Democrats whose bill would require the administration to stop purchasing oil for the stockpile for the rest of the year or until the price of oil falls to less than (negotiable) $50 a barrel. It’s also good news for truckers who need something to reverse the upward pressure on the cost of diesel.

In case you are wondering, now all three presidential hopefuls are onboard with the stop-the-fill train.

Now let’s see that legislation get movin’.