Clinton plays politics with U.S. oil reserves

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 25, 2000

A move by the Clinton-Gore administration to use strategic oilreserves in an effort to ease rising crude oil prices in the waningdays of the presidential election is nothing more than politics –and dangerous politics at that.

President Clinton’s decision Friday to release 30 to 35 millionbarrels of the nation’s strategic oil reserves — at the same timethat Vice President Al Gore is using it as a campaign pledge toattract northern voters — is shameful.

Gore claims he knew nothing of the President’s plans to releasethe crude oil, and says it is only a coincidence. Funny thing isthat while Gore is pushing the idea now, last winter he was opposedto releasing oil reserves for the same purpose.

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Why the sudden change? Gore needs crucial votes in the northeastwhere heating oil is already in short supply.

The release of the U.S. reserves is equivalent to 30 daysconsumption. While the release has already had an immediate effecton crude oil prices, that effect could change quickly if OPEC wereto decide to reduce its own production by a like amount.

The result, the U.S. consumes a large portion of its reservesand is susceptible to further energy related problems down the roadwithout any reduction in world crude oil prices.

The Clinton-Gore administration is rolling the dice in hopes ofgaining votes. The risk, however, is on the American people.