Energy & Environment

Perry rejects calls to sell off emergency oil reserve

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the United States shouldn’t sell off its emergency crude oil supply to boost the federal budget, breaking with the White House.

Perry was asked at a Friday press conference if Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both of which damaged Gulf Coast infrastructure, have led him to reassess a Trump administration proposal to sell off portions of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a component of the White House’s May budget proposal.

“I think this is a good example of why we need a SPR,” Perry said at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I didn’t write that budget.” he said. “I’m a big believer that it makes sense for us to have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”


The federal government established the stockpile in the 1970s as a back-up source of crude oil for use in the event of energy emergencies. It contains 677 million barrels of oil.

The Energy Department has allowed for the sale of 5 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR following Hurricane Harvey, which blew through an area of the Gulf of Mexico with heavy oil production. 

In his budget request, President Trump proposed selling half of the SPR to raise up to $16.5 billion in revenue by 2027, though that proposal ran into opposition on Capitol Hill.

Perry said Friday that Trump was exploring whether there is “a better way to do this [and] is the amount of oil in there the right amount?”

Harvey and Irma, Perry said, “might change people’s opinion on this because this has never happened before.”

He added, “Our job is to make sure the United States never gets surprised.”

Tags crude oil Hurricane Harvey oil Rick Perry Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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