House Natural Resources Chairman: Obama’s Move on Strategic Reserves May Backfire

Jun 23, 2011 3:49pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports:

Republicans are reacting skeptically to President Obama’s surprise decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, arguing that it won’t have a major impact on gas prices — and could be a move that the president regrets if there’s a significant supply disruption.

“I don’t think it’s a very good move,” House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today. “It only supplies about a day and a half of the nation’s supply of oil. But what it misses is a critical part: It doesn’t create any jobs.”

“Energy jobs are good-paying jobs. That’s where we should be focusing. So all he’s doing is releasing what should be there strategically, but it doesn’t do anything regarding jobs. But it does – which I think is important – acknowledge that supply is the issue.”

Asked if he thinks the president is putting politics ahead of energy security, Hastings said:

“I will just say this as kindly as I possibly can: And that is … his actions have been 180 degrees from what his words are, in a negative way. So I think what he’s trying to do is pacify what the problem is.”

Dealing with high gas prices isn’t the point of the reserve, he said: “The strategic reserve was designed [for] when we come to a point where – horrors if we ever get to that point – we wouldn’t have any supply at all for a little over a month. And now he’s tapping that for obviously just a short-term supply.”

“I think it sets a precedent that will probably be tapped again, and all of that time that erodes the strategic supply,” Hastings added.

The long-term answer, he said, is “an all-of-the-above energy plan.” Hastings today filed a series of bills that would promote energy exploration on federal lands, which fall under the jurisdiction of his committee.

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