President Joe Biden said has directed the Department of Energy to use all tools, including the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to keep gasoline flowing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Reuters reports.
“It’s important to know that the region hit by it is a key center of our nation’s oil production and refining infrastructure … that’s why we’re not waiting to assess the full impact of the storm,” Biden says.
Biden’s direction comes as Louisiana goes into its fourth day of severe fuel shortages and following a letter from Baton Rouge U.S. Rep. Garret Graves urging the federal government to tap into the petroleum reserves.
“Our state is currently experiencing widespread electricity outages, inoperable cellular networks, severed internet connections, disabled water and sewer systems, and fuel shortages that have reached critical levels,” Graves says in a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “The people of Louisiana are literally in the dark without electricity, or they are relying on scarce fuel supplies to power backup generators.”
The strategic reserve has four major storage facilities, two in Texas and two in Louisiana, to deliver crude to nearby refineries for fuel production. It was developed in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo spiked gasoline prices, but has been tapped recently after unusual fuel disruptions like hurricanes. Read more about the SPR from Reuters.