GAS PRICES

Locals react to Obama's oil plan

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"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency lifeline to protect our nation against critical shortages in our oil supply and shouldn't be used as a Strategic Political Reserve to boost the popularity of elected officials," said Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.

The administration's action will do little to benefit consumers while leaving the nation vulnerable to hurricanes or other natural disasters, or a foreign crisis that causes a real supply shortage, said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"By tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the president is using a national security instrument to address his domestic political problems," Boehner said. "This action threatens our ability to respond to a genuine national security crisis."

Even some Democrats were puzzled by the move.

"This decision would have been more timely if made when the disruption in Libyan oil supplies first occurred" in February, said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Still, Bingaman said he hopes the move helps deflate "speculative froth in the markets" and drives prices down.

The administration said the uprising in Libya has resulted in a loss of about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. The International Energy Agency said roughly 132 million barrels of Libyan light, sweet crude had been removed from the world market as of May.

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