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Red Alert: Clause Hidden in Funding Bill Would Dismantle Strategic Reserve, Sell Off Stockpiles

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A funding bill is currently being discussed in Congress that could have catastrophic consequences for the Northeast in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

Buried on Page 441 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act is a proposal to sell off the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, which contains 1 million barrels of gasoline.

The goal of the bill is to appropriate funds for several federal agencies, including the Department of Energy. It stipulates that, once the NGSR is shut down, the department can’t create a new reserve unless funding for it is “explicitly requested in advance in an annual budget.”

According to Newsweek, the bill is expected to pass after bipartisan negotiations and with the backing of House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Now, what exactly is the NGSR, and why is its potential sale such a big deal?

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As explained on the DOE website, the reserve was created in response to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The disaster “caused heavy damage to two refineries and left more than 40 terminals in New York Harbor closed due to water damage and loss of power. This left some New York gas stations without fuel for as long as 30 days,” the website says.

In 2014, the Obama administration stockpiled 1 million barrels of gasoline in case of similar emergencies. The reserve is split between New York, Boston and South Portland, Maine, and companies can bid on barrels through an anonymous online auction system.

According to Newsweek, the DOE said in an October report that the NGSR costs around $16 million a year to maintain and would provide “minimal relief to a shortage condition.”

But does that mean it should be shut down?

Should the NGSR be shut down?

As noted on the DOE website, the purpose of the NGSR is simply to “give Northeast consumers supplemental supplies for a few days in the event of a hurricane or other disruption, until existing distribution infrastructure [can] return to full operation.”

Hurricane Sandy absolutely crippled the Northeast and highlighted the need for infrastructure like the NGSR, and now lawmakers want to dismantle it.

Of all the useless and bloated government agencies and programs that could have been scrapped to provide funds for the DOE, they target a strategic stockpile of gasoline?

This reserve wasn’t some pork barrel project. It is a critical piece of infrastructure that exists to help Americans when they need it most.

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Instead of being recognized for what it is, it’s now under attack.

Congress is apparently prioritizing short-term gains at the expense of emergency preparedness.


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