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Schumer Proposes Amendment to Tap Strategic Oil Reserve

By Caitlyn Kim

Washington, DC – With New Yorkers facing higher prices at the pumps, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer is offering an amendment on to the energy bill that will release oil from the country's emergency tanks.

Schumer wants the Bush Administration to use its ace in the hole. His amendment would require the Administration to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He thinks this would help lower oil prices, which in turn will help lead to lower gas prices. As Schumer explains oil from the reserves would be sold to oil companies at the higher price, and when prices lower, the government can buy oil for the reserves at the lower price.

"Put some oil into the market now," Schumer said. "It brings down the prices, but you have a contract that they are going to give you the oil back. And they usually give you more oil back because the price is lower once you put the oil out in the market."

The Bush administration has been reluctant to release oil from the reserves to help nudge prices. Some Capitol Hill lawmakers believe it is the Administration's insistence on filling the reserve that has helped drive up prices. But many other senators argue higher gas prices are the result of an increase in world demand for oil and limited refining capabilities in the U.S.

A vote on the amendment is scheduled for Wednesday.