Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to the Biden Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday asking for an investigation into why China — and other foreign countries — were given oil from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), while an ongoing energy crisis continues to hit consumers hard at the gas pump.
The letter, first obtained and reported on by the Daily Caller, was addressed to DOE Inspector General Teri Donaldson and argued that the reserve exists to act as insurance for America and its citizens — not foreign nations or entities.
“I urge you to immediately open an investigation into the Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s recent releases of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to foreign countries including China,” Hawley began. “It is incumbent upon your office to determine the possibility of gross administrative misconduct with respect to these sales which may damage American energy security.”
The Missouri Republican also argued against the practice of giving American oil to our top adversary, especially during a time when the U.S. is in the midst of an energy crisis — under an administration that’s openly hostile to oil drilling and fossil fuel refinement.
“While Americans are paying record gasoline and diesel fuel prices, the Biden administration appears to have been letting our strategic oil stockpiles flow to foreign countries and entities,” he wrote. “Critically, the American people deserve answers as to how exactly the Department justified sending oil from the SPR to China. DOE’s recent transfer of nearly one million barrels of oil to UNIPEC is just one concerning example.”
Hawley added, “That company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (SOE). This all comes at a time when the SPR’s level has fallen to about 492 million barrels of oil, the lowest level since 1985.”
Biden had already been criticized for reportedly releasing 50 million barrels of oil back in November of last year, 30 million barrels at the start of March, and 180 million barrels on March 31 — adding that the “historic” move would help alleviate rising energy prices, yet they continue to skyrocket.
Hawley went on to pose a list of questions to the DOE in his letter, which laid out his concerns in full.
He mainly focused on countermeasures to prevent this type of tranaction from ever reoccurring, asked how much of the reserves went to U.S. refineries and if the Energy Department officials involved followed the law — along with what the Defense Department’s role was in the issue:
- Does the Department have any internal controls in place to prevent the transfer of oil from the SPR to foreign entities with ties to China?
- How many barrels of oil from the SPR ultimately went to American refineries? How many ultimately served foreign markets?
- How could the qualifications or limitations the Department considers during the contracting process be improved to ensure releases from the SPR serve to improve the supply and affordability of energy for American citizens?
- Were any controls in place to ensure oil from the SPR would go to serve American markets? How could these be improved?
- Did Department officials follow the statutory requirement to consult with the Secretary of Defense on SPR releases? Did the Secretary of Defense raise any concerns regarding any transfer of the SPR to any foreign government or Chinese state-owned enterprise?
Hawley had already made headlines earlier this week after getting into a heated exchange with University of California-Berkeley Professor Khiara Bridges, on a series of topics ranging from gender rights to abortion.
He had asked Bridges about the politics of abortion, while also posing the question — ‘What is a woman?’
Soon after, Hawley went on Fox News’ “Hannity,” to discuss what led to the encounter and offer his opinion on how the exchange went.
“You know — here is the modern Democrat Party today, Sean,” he told Fox. “It is that you have to say that ‘men can get pregnant.’ And if you don’t say it, then you are a bigot and you are responsible for violence.”
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