Rush Statement at Markup on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Ranking Member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following opening remarks at the markup on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act:
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this markup today examining legislation to authorize a pilot project to commercialize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR.
"I also want to acknowledge and thank my good friend and colleague, Joe Barton of Texas, for working with my office on this bipartisan piece of legislation.
"Mr. Chairman, I must also commend the staff from both the minority and majority sides for working together on this bipartisan bill, which should help inform our decisions regarding the best use of the SPR moving forward.
"Mr. Chairman, as we know, the energy portfolio of the U.S. has undergone a dramatic change since the SPR was first established to counter the oil shortages of the 1970’s.
"In fact, as the U.S. has transformed from a heavy importer of foreign oil, to a global leader in oil exports, the SPR is now used more as a piggybank to fund a vast variety of unrelated Congressional initiatives, rather than its initial purpose as an emergency energy backstop.
"Accordingly, Mr. Chairman, this bill will not only help to repurpose the SPR, but it will also actually bring in extra revenue by leasing storage space to friendly foreign allies and private companies.
"This funding could then be used to help pay for infrastructure upgrades to modernize these facilities and maximize the American taxpayers’ return on this investment.
"So again, I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important markup today and I look forward to working with Mr. Barton and the majority side to move this bill expeditiously through committee, to the Floor, and ultimately to the President to be signed into law.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and with that I yield back the balance of my time."