(LANSING, MICH.) - Barack Obama kicked off his week-long focus on energy issues with a policy shift, saying, "We should sell 70 million barrels of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve for less expensive crude, which in the past has lowered gas prices within two weeks." This is the first time the Democratic candidate has called for tapping the strategic oil reserve after speaking out against doing just that.
"Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process", he added.
As recently as a month ago, Obama spoke out against tapping into the petroleum reserve.
"I do not believe that we should use this strategic oil reserves at this point," he said on July 7 in St. Louis. "I have said and in fact supported a congressional resolution that said that we should suspend putting more oil into the strategic oil reserve. But the strategic oil reserve I think has to be reserved for a genuine emergency."
Obama also referenced his recent admission that he he would support offshore oil drilling if it were necessary for Congress to come to an agreement on energy relief.
"I am willing to consider it, if it's necessary to actually pass a comprehensive plan," he said. Speaking of an energy proposal drafted by a bipartisan group in the Senate last week, Obama admitted that "like all compromises, this one has its drawbacks. It includes a limited amount of new offshore drilling, and while I still don't believe that's a particularly meaningful short-term or long-term solution."
"I am not interested in making the perfect the enemy of the good – particularly since there is so much good in this compromise that would actually reduce our dependence on foreign oil."