Biden Admin Buys Oil to Refill Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Offset Keystone Leak Disruption

Strategic Petroleum Reserve crude oil storage tanks near Nederland, Texas
Strategic Petroleum Reserve crude oil storage tanks near Nederland, Texas. U.S. Department of Energy
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The Biden administration will concurrently begin an effort to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and release nearly 2 million barrels.

The administration released 180 million barrels of oil from the SPR earlier this year to stabilize oil markets upended by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now plans to tap the SPR to bail out companies affected by the rupture of the Keystone Pipeline in Kansas.

The cause of the Keystone Pipeline rupture that spilled nearly 600,000 gallons of oil across rural Kansas and into Mill Creek in Washington County is still unknown.

“When a tar sands disaster like this happens, it is worse than a traditional oil spill. Because tar sands is much more difficult, expensive and much more toxic to clean up. We know that this is going to take years,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska. Tar sands oil is so thick it actually sinks in water, making clean up much harder. “It’s a very thick substance that’s almost peanut butter consistency,” Anthony Swift, director of the Canada Project with NRDC, told NPR.

For a deeper dive:

SPR restock: Reuters, Axios, Politico, The Hill, The New York Times; Keystone spill: NPR, Grist, Salon; Both: CNN

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