Statement on White House actions involving the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Defense Production Act

Mar 31, 2022

DENVER—The White House today announced two major actions with implications for American public lands: Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to lower gas prices, and invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to incentivize production of batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“The president’s actions today recognize that oil companies will always put profits over people, and the only way forward is to quickly transition America to a renewable energy economy. Opening the petroleum reserve is an important short-term step to lower energy prices, because oil CEOs insist on keeping production low in order to maximize their profits, even as Americans suffer. 


“We applaud the president’s call for Congress to make oil companies give taxpayers a fair return for their backlog of thousands of approved but unused drilling permits and millions of acres of unused leases that lock up public lands without any benefit for the American people.


“Russia’s war on Ukraine has made it clear that America can no longer let the war profiteers in the oil industry hold our economy hostage while they rake in billions of dollars in windfall profits. We must take more steps to move America away from this oil dependency, and incentivizing American production of batteries is an important step.


“It’s equally important that all mining for critical minerals be done in a way that respects Indigenous lands, protects our air and water, and doesn’t leave a toxic legacy for our children to clean up. I’m optimistic that today’s order will do both. We can move America’s economy forward without cutting corners on environmental reviews and tribal consultation.”


  • By the numbers: Oil industry awash in permits, leases while pushing for more drilling [Westwise]
  • Progress Report: President Biden’s first year on public lands [Westwise]
  • American oil companies cynically try to profit off the Russian invasion [Westwise]
  • Debunking the oil industry’s false claims on Biden’s leasing reform [Westwise]
  • Storymap: The oil industry’s forfeited public lands stockpile [Center for Western Priorities]