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Time To Tap The Strategic Petroleum Reserve As Pipeline Explosion Cuts U.S. Supplies

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This morning we woke up to the news that a pipeline explosion at Clearbrook, Minnesota cut 1.5 million barrels day of Canadian oil imports. The explosion killed two workers and the price of oil catapulted near four dollars a barrel. The pipeline company said the fire is still burning. A company spokesman advised that "all lines are shut down until we can safely start up the system. At least one or two lines will be shut down for quite sometime."

With prices escalating nearly $4 dollars a barrel, or a transfer of wealth from American consumers to oil interests of some $85 million dollars a day (21 millions plus/minus daily oil consumption X $4) this oil supply interruption classifies as a national supply emergency. It is exactly why we have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve in place, and where release of oil to the market would abate the supply disruption caused by this event.

Will the administration, that is to say President Bush and Energy Secretary Bodman, do the needful, and immediately announce a release from our 750 million barrel Petroleum Reserve to compensate for the Canadian oil shortfall? It stands to reason that they should. But then again this is an administration so wedded to oil interests, they might well want to continue adding to the stockpile rather than releasing supplies to stabilize market disruptions. This, while American consumers, who paid for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the first place, continue to have their pockets picked. Here we have a real test of whether we have an administration wedded to national interests or oil interests first and foremost.