Trump plan to sell off half of oil stockpile sparks debate

FILE PHOTO - In this Dec. 15, 2014, file photo, workers drill for oil at a site near Williston, N.D. In the heart of North Dakota's oil patch, there are hundreds of more jobs than takers. No longer is it easy to find a hotel room or a table at a restaurant. More than two years after the state's unprecedented oil bonanza fizzled, North Dakota is experiencing a sort of boomlet with an increase in drilling that has brought oil production back up to more than 1 million barrels daily. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s proposal to sell nearly half the U.S. emergency oil stockpile is sparking renewed debate about whether the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is still needed amid an ongoing oil production boom that has seen U.S. imports drop sharply in the past decade.

Trump’s budget calls for selling an additional 270 million barrels of oil over the next decade, raising an estimated $16.6 billion.

The petroleum reserve was created after the 1970s Arab oil embargo. It guards against disruptions in the flow of oil from the Middle East and other countries. Lawmakers from both parties have long warned against using it to raise money.

But some Republicans say North Dakota’s oil-rich Bakken region offers a de facto reserve that can be tapped if needed. Trump’s plan requires congressional approval.


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