Snowe Statement on Suspending Shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Washington, D.C. -U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) issued the following statement today regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement that it would halt shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) beginning July 1st:

"As oil and gas prices continue to reach new highs every week, we should utilize every available avenue to lower the burden that these prices are having on hard-working Americans. Freezing shipments to the SPR is a sensible approach, but it is a baby step forward in addressing our nation’s energy crisis.

"There are things we can do right now to invest in a sustainable energy future such as extending the renewable production tax credit which is set to expire at the end of the year and the energy efficiency tax credit which has already expired."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the SPR receives about 70,000 barrels a day (America consumes 20 million barrels-a-day) and stands at a little more than 700 million barrels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts oil prices would fall by only about $2 a barrel – or reduce 4 to 5 cents a gallon off the price of gas with the President halted shipments to the SPR.

Senator Snowe also called on the President to sign the Farm Bill conference report Congress passed this week. Included in the legislation is a provision sponsored by Sens. Snowe, Feinstein and Levin that would close the "Enron Loophole" and bring more transparency and accountability into our energy markets.

"At a time when the price of oil reaches new highs every week, Congress has an obligation to ensure that our energy markets are free from the possibility of tampering and manipulation that costs Americans in their excessive energy bills. This provision will provide authority for the CFTC to ensure that our prices are not being manipulated by the futures markets and those prices are truly reflective of supply and demand."