GOP irked by talk of SPR release

Updated Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:28 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Republican lawmakers expressed concern that the Obama administration was considering a drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., minority leader in the Senate, and six other Republicans issued a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama expressing concern about a potential release from the SPR.

The letter, published by Washington newspaper The Hill, reminded Obama the SPR was created in 1975 to serve as an emergency stockpile in the event of a major market disruption or economic calamity.

"We strongly urge you to refrain from deploying this vital strategic asset unless and until a severe oil supply disruption occurs," the letter states.

The last SPR drawdown was in response to the shutdown of oil production in Libya during last year's civil war.

The administration last summer said it was keeping a potential SPR release on the table when retail gasoline prices hovered around $4 per gallon. White House spokesman Jay Carney last raised the issue with reporters Sept. 19.

Motor group AAA reports the average national price for a gallon of gasoline Tuesday was $3.78.

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