Goodlatte Leads the Charge in Congress by Calling on President to ease Gasoline Prices with Strategic Petroleum Reserves Policy Shift

Mar 22, 2004

Washington , DC -House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte today sent a letter to President Bush, calling on him to reevaluate the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) policy on filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help lower gasoline prices at the pump. In light of gasoline prices being at a record high, Goodlatte circulated the letter amongst his Congressional colleagues, garnering the signatures of more then 50 other Members of Congress. A complete list of signers is available at the bottom of the release.

In the letter, Goodlatte urged President Bush to, "suspend shipments of oil to the SPR and allow more oil to remain on the market and available to consumers when supplies are tight."

"Prices at the pump are escalating at an alarming rate," Goodlatte said. "I hear from my constituents who are struggling with high gasoline prices. With our economy on the rebound, it is critical that we not allow rising gasoline prices to have a negative impact on the recovery."

"Also, with the planting season around the corner, the record high gasoline prices will really hit America 's farmers hard," Goodlatte continued.

Goodlatte and the other Members of Congress called on the President and the DOE to revert back to its previous policy of filling the SPR when crude oil prices are relatively low and deferring oil deliveries when prices are relatively high.

In the letter to the President, Goodlatte wrote, "Filling the SPR, without regard to crude oil prices and the availability of supplies drives oil prices higher and ultimately hurts consumers."

In addition, this letter outlines concerns about missed opportunities for saving taxpayers' money.

"Filling the SPR regardless of oil prices increases taxpayer costs," Goodlatte continued.

He went on to explain that prior to 2002, DOE granted oil company requests to defer scheduled oil deliveries to the SPR when oil prices were high, in return for deposits of extra oil at a later date. These deferrals save taxpayers money and add extra barrels of oil to the SPR.

A copy of the original "Dear Colleague", and the letter sent to President Bush are attached.

U.S. AVERAGE GASOLINE PRICE

HITS A RECORD HIGH NATIONWIDE!

JOIN IN SIGNING A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH URGING HIM

TO SUSPEND SHIPMENTS TO THE SPR UNTIL CRUDE OIL

SUPPLIES INCREASE AND PRICES DECREASE

March 16, 2004

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to urge you to sign the attached letter to President Bush urging him to reevaluate the Department of Energy's (DOE) policy on filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at a time when gas prices are at a record high and appear to be increasing.

As you may know, the SPR is receiving royalty oil from Department of Interior leases on the Outer Continental Shelf as well as oil from earlier phases of a royalty oil transfer program. Given the increasing prices of gasoline, the attached letter to President Bush urges him to suspend shipments of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) when crude oil supplies are tight and prices are high such as they are now. I am sure you, like me, have been hearing from constituents on a daily basis about the financial strain of increasing gasoline prices.

The letter also urges the President to call upon the DOE to review and revert back to its previous policy of filling the SPR when crude oil prices were relatively low and deferring oil deliveries when prices were relatively high. Filling the SPR, without regard to crude oil prices and the availability of supplies, drives oil prices higher and ultimately hurts consumers.

In addition, this letter outlines concerns about missed opportunities for saving taxpayers' money. Filling the SPR regardless of oil prices increases taxpayer costs. Prior to 2002, DOE granted oil company requests to defer scheduled oil deliveries to the SPR when oil prices were high, in return for deposits of extra oil at a later date. These deferrals save taxpayers money and add extra barrels of oil to the SPR.

This letter also encourages the President to study the development of procedures to assure that the SPR is filled consistent with the objective of minimizing acquisition costs "or revenue foregone when the oil is acquired under the royalty-in-kind (RIK) program " and consistent with maximizing domestic supply. The Administration should also reevaluate the practice of diversion of RIK and other oil to the SPR so that it will be opportunely timed so as to not exacerbate crude oil price increases.

In conclusion, the letter recommends that the President restore mark et-based criteria for granting deferrals by urging the DOE to restore its SPR business procedures allowing deferrals of oil deliveries to the SPR when crude oil prices are high or commercial crude oil supplies are tight.

I invite you to join me in sending the attached letter to President Bush urging him to suspend shipments to the SPR until crude oil supplies increase and prices decrease. For more information or to co-sign the letter, please contact Amanda Foster , with my office at 5-5431.

Sincerely,

Bob Goodlatte

Member of Congress

____________________________________________________________________________________

March ___, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush
 The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington , D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to urge that you suspend shipments of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and allow more oil to remain on the mark et and available to consumers when supplies are tight. We hear from our constituencies daily about the financial strain of increasing gasoline prices.

We are urging you to call upon the Department of Energy (DOE) to review and revert back to its previous policy of filling the SPR when crude oil prices are relatively low and deferring oil deliveries when prices are relatively high. Filling the SPR, without regard to crude oil prices and the availability of supplies, drives oil prices higher and ultimately hurts consumers.

In addition, we are concerned about missed opportunities for saving taxpayers' money. Filling the SPR regardless of oil prices increases taxpayer costs. Prior to 2002, DOE granted oil company requests to defer scheduled oil deliveries to the SPR when oil prices were high, in return for deposits of extra oil at a later date. These deferrals save taxpayers money and add extra barrels of oil to the SPR.

We urge the DOE to study the development of procedures to assure that the SPR is filled consistent with the objective of minimizing acquisition costs ? or revenue foregone when the oil is acquired under the royalty-in-kind (RIK) program ? and consistent with maximizing domestic supply. We urge the Administration to reevaluate the practice of diversion of RIK and other oil to the SPR so that it will be opportunely timed so as to not exacerbate crude oil price increases.

We recommend you restore mark et-based criteria for granting deferrals by urging the DOE to restore its SPR business procedures allowing deferrals of oil deliveries to the SPR when crude oil prices are high or commercial crude oil supplies are tight.

Again, we urge you to take these recommendations under consideration and to suspend shipments to the SPR until crude oil supplies increase and prices decrease.

Sincerely,

House Members Signing the Letter Include:
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Walter Jones (R-NC) Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) John Boozman (R-AR)
Jack Kingston (R-GA) Buck McKeon (R-CA)
John Sweeney (R-NY) Steve King (R-NY)
Spencer Bachus (R-AL) Rick Boucher (R-VA)
 Mike Rogers (R-AL) Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Bill Jenkins (R-TN) Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
David Obey (D-WI) Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
 James Moran (D-VA) Denny Rehberg (R-MT)
Barbara Cubin (R-WY) Jo Ann Davis (R-VA)
 Phil English (R-PA) Virgil Goode (R-VA)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
Nancy Johnson (R-CT) Fred Upton (R-MI)
Bart Gordon (D-TN) Howard Coble (R-NC)
Eliot Engel (D-NY) Timothy Johnson (R-IL)
Ken Lucas (D-KY) Randy Forbes (R-VA)
 Tom Osborne(R-NE) Collin Peterson (D-MN)
James Greenwood (R-PA) Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Eric Cantor (R-VA) Mark Foley (R-FL)
Sue Myrick (R-NC) Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
Dave Camp (R-MI) Roy Blunt (R-MO)
 John Dolittle (R-CA) Cass Ballenger (R-NC)
 Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Jerry Weller (R-IL)
 Lee Terry (R-NE) Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)

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