clashes with Democrats over
with the rapid rise in gasoline prices President Bush
refused to consider use of Strategic Petroleum Reserves, a
national emergency stockpile, to give motorists relief
at the pump. So too were calls for the halt of shipments to the reserve. Bush said. "The
idea of emptying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve ...
would put America in a dangerous position in the war on
a Cabinet meeting, Bush explained to reporters: "We
must not put ourselves in a worse position in this war.
And playing politics with the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve would do just that." But Bush's rival,
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts,
accused Bush of dodging issues and blaming others:
"Once again, the president is making
excuses instead of coming up with a plan to deal with
gasoline price rises that are roiling the economy,"
said Kerry spokesman Phil Singer.
retail petrol prices have now topped $2 per gallon.
Yesterday, the New York Mercantile
Exchange traded as high as $1.45 a gallon - a new record
- amid supply fears ahead of the U.S. summer holiday season.
Bush did not list any
new initiatives to relieve the situation, instead trying
to 'pass the buck' to Democrats for blocking his energy bill.
660 million barrels of oil is stored in salt caverns at four underground
sites in Texas and Louisiana. The Bush
administration wants to raise the reserves to 700
million barrels in the next 6 months. In a
similar situation, Former President Bill Clinton released 30
million barrels of oil from the reserve when gasoline
prices soared in the summer and fall of 2000.
hopeful and likely challenger at the November election,
John Kerry, said that he would not tap the reserve now.
But he said
continuing to fill the stockpile is helping to push up
prices. Some Democratic
lawmakers want the Bush administration to release up to
60 million barrels of crude. In reply, Bush blames Senate
Democrats for blocking a broad energy bill that he says
could have secured more supplies. The
legislation is controversial and some Democrats view it
as a giveaway to energy companies and also dislike
aspects of it that would open some protected lands for
drilling. Bush cited one such provision yesterday,
saying that if his plan to allow drilling in Alaska's
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge had passed, it would be
having a "positive impact" for U.S.
consumers. Oil industry executives have said that
even if ANWR was opened to drilling, it would be about
10 years before a significant amount of oil would get to
Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, said: Bush needs to hold to his campaign promise to put
pressure on OPEC cartel members. The president
remains tight lipped at a
time when the OPEC countries have announced they want to
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