Obama energy secretary criticizes Trump on oil reserve

Obama energy secretary criticizes Trump on oil reserve
© Getty Images

Former Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizStop wasting tax dollars on failing nuclear projects Trump vows hard line with Iran, setting stage to decertify deal Renewing America’s commitment to nuclear energy MORE is criticizing the Trump administration's policy toward the federal government's oil reserve, saying the administration should improve on its usefulness. 

Moniz, who led the Department of Energy from 2013 to 2017 under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Right way and wrong way Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle despite recent leak MORE, argued in a Houston Chronicle op-ed published Thursday that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) should not be dramatically reduced, as President Trump’s budget proposes. 

The former Energy chief argued that while the nation’s oil and energy systems are dramatically different from 40 years ago, when the SPR was established, it still serves a vital purpose.


Moniz wrote that the rationale that the SPR is unnecessary with a boom in domestic oil production “appears to be grounded in a view of oil markets in 1973."

“The SPR — its value to domestic and global energy security, U.S. consumers and our economy — needs to be viewed instead through the lens of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the last 40 years,” he wrote.

Moniz called for modernizing the SPR, including through updating its infrastructure to better be able to release oil quickly in the case of a supply disruption or other problem.

Congress has acted a handful of times in recent years to sell off some of the approximately 690 million barrels of oil in the SPR to pay for other programs.

Those proposals frequently face cautious opposition among some lawmakers, and the Obama administration resisted large-scale sell-offs.

Moniz said Trump and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry should realize the domestic and international benefits of the SPR and work to improve its usefulness, not reduce it.

“We should support the view of Congress that the SPR is one of our most valuable security assets,” he said. “In today's world of changed markets, unrest, and collective energy security responsibilities, we should be modernizing the SPR, not selling it off.”