Strategic Production Response Act

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 26, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROSE. Mr. Chair, today I rise in support of H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act.

President Biden's energy policies that stifle domestic oil and gas production have pushed energy prices up and made everything we buy in this country more expensive. As a consequence, the president raided our Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year in a failed attempt to temporarily and artificially lower the price of gas right before the mid-term election, putting his personal political self-interest above our national security and our national interest. His actions left our nation vulnerable to international energy extortion and woefully unprepared to respond to certain domestic natural disasters and emergencies.

The solution to this terrible predicament the president has left us in is to enact a policy that requires the Secretary of the Department of Energy to submit a plan to increase domestic production every time the president chooses to raid our reserves for non-emergency reasons. That way, we'll never be left in the position we are left in today. That's exactly what the Strategic Production Response Act does.

Additionally, Mr. Chair, I rise because I am pleased that the new Republican majority in the House has brought forth this bill under a modified open rule. This will be the first bill considered in this chamber under an open modified rule since 2016 and the first time since I took office.

I, along with many of my colleagues who wish to restore the integrity of this institution, have long advocated for an open amendment process that encourages robust debate. The American people sent us to Washington to be their representatives, which means listening to each other-even when we disagree--and taking tough votes so that we can reach a consensus.

I am confident that this process will yield greater Member participation, a more informed and engaged electorate, and ultimately better legislation for the American people.

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chair, I rise to speak in support of the Jackson Lee Amendments to H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, which will improve the bill.

As a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a member representing the 18th Congressional District in Houston, Texas, I am well aware of the critical importance of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to our nation's security.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, was established primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products and to carry out obligations of the United States under the international energy program.

Following the oil shocks of the late 1970s, the nation prepared to secure its energy future by developing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

On August 4, 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12231--Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In this action, he transferred the functions vested in the President by Section 7430(k) of Title 10 of the United States Code to the Secretary of Energy.

The nation owes a debt of gratitude to President Carter for his foresight and willingness to pursue such a bold effort to ensure the nation's energy security.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a federally-owned oil stockpile of crude oil stored in huge underground salt caverns at four sites along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.

Two Strategic Petroleum Reserve containment facilities are near Houston, Texas: the Bryan Mound in Brazoria County and Big Hill in Jefferson County.

Over my tenure in the House of Representatives I have seen the value and necessity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

For the past 27 years, I have been Co-Chair of the Energy Braintrusts of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Energy is the Live Blood of the Economy.

The electricity that powers our cities, heats our homes, fuels innovation in businesses, and supports the work of local, state, and federal governments to serve the public all depend on low-cost, accessible, and available energy.

Too often, we take for granted how fortunate we are to live in a nation and what a rich store of energy in the form of fossil fuels, wind, solar, and hydropower.

I believe in the importance of an innovative and forward-thinking energy posture for this nation.

My work includes hosting Energy Braintrusts designed to bring all relevant players ranging from environmentalists to producers of energy from various sectors, including coal, electric, natural gas, nuclear, oil, and alternative energy sources, as well as producers from Africa.

The oil and gas industry provides many jobs for many of my constituents and opportunities for small businesses in the 18th Congressional District of Texas.

In past Congresses, I have offered bills to promote deficit reduction and job creation that could increase leasing of the outer continental shelf oil and gas resources under the control of the federal government.

Times change as does the needs of the nation--today our major threat is climate change.

For these reasons, throughout my time in Congress, I have advanced my interests in a balance among the sources of home-grown energy sources comprised of fossil fuels, natural gas, wind, and solar energy.

The Jackson Lee Amendments offered for consideration under H.R. 21 would create avenues for providing access to routine operational functions for maintenance of the Petroleum Reserve that is essential to operations.

Mr. Chair, I ask that you consider that the location of the reserves and the location of the refineries that produce gasoline, fuel oil, and heating oil are highly concentrated along the Upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

The strategic importance is not just when gasoline prices might go up but when the nation's national interests are threatened.

Instances of the reserve's oil being used include:

2011 IEA Coordinated Release

2005 Hurricane Katrina Sale

1991 Operation Desert Storm Sale

1990 Desert Shield Test Sale

2017 Hurricane Harvey Exchange

2012 Hurricane Isaac Exchange

2008 Hurricanes Gustav and Ike Exchanges

2006 Ship Channel Closure Exchange

2006 Barge Accident Exchange

2005 Hurricane Katrina Exchange

2004 Hurricane Ivan Exchange

2002 Hurricane Lili Exchange

2000 Heating Oil Exchange

2000 Ship Channel Closure Exchange

1999 Maya Exchange

1996 Pipeline Blockage Exchange

If the reserve had not been tapped in each of these instances, the consequences to the American public would have been higher fuel prices.

Shocks to the economy are difficult to weather by those on set incomes like retired persons or low-income families.

Economic harms caused by higher fuel costs are a threat to American families and should be considered when considering the national interest in using the reserves, which are paid for by the working people of this nation. Jackson Lee Amendment No. 35

This Jackson Lee amendment would continue to allow the Secretary of Energy to permit drawdowns of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to supply refineries should natural or manmade disasters disrupt port facilities or transportation systems that disrupt deliveries of crude to refineries for the production of gasoline, fuel oil, or heating oil.

An important benefit to having the world's largest crude oil reserve occurs following a major hurricane hitting the upper Texas or Southern Louisiana Coast when ports and docking facilities may have sustained damage that prevents the off-loading of crude to refineries.

Drawdowns from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to disasters does aid the national interest in keeping supplies of gasoline, fuel oils, and heating oil flowing to consumers.

Any disruption in the production of these energy products would immediately trigger higher prices that would hit the pocketbooks of American families.

The benefits of providing exchanges of oil from the preserve to refiners and having the crude delivered later to replenish what was used with additional amounts added to the reserve a few months after the drawdown is beneficial to the nation and the oil industry as a whole.

This Jackson Lee Amendment would preserve exchanges that occur and protect the nation from gasoline shortages and likely much higher fuel prices following natural disasters that impact the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. Jackson Lee Amendment No. 36

This Jackson Lee amendment would allow the necessary and routine test drawdowns that occur as part of the work to maintain the efficiency of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ensure that it functions as intended during an emergency use permissible by law or regulation.

Tests are essential to the core mission of the preserve and often involve 5,000,000 barrels or less being drawn down.

This Jackson Lee Amendment would provide that Strategic Petroleum Reserve tests would not trigger the provisions of this bill.

The Jackson Lee amendment would ensure that tests can continue without delay or suspension out of concern regarding the requirements of this bill.

I ask my colleagues to support both of these Jackson Lee Amendments.

I understand that the bill's authors have a specific policy objective in mind and believe that the legislation will accomplish a minor policy change.

I would offer that sometimes a little change can have severe consequences and that we might be far better if bipartisan efforts were pursued when it comes to a successful policy accomplishment that is the envy of the world and a vital national resource.