Statement on Signing the Energy Emergency Preparedness Act of 1982

August 3, 1982

Restoring America's energy security has been a top priority since I assumed office. We have changed regulations and laws, held discussions with our neighbors concerning a North American accord, and increased cooperation with our friends and allies to enhance our energy security. The United States has made dramatic gains in augmenting production and enhancing efficient consumption of energy. As a result of the policies of this administration, the vulnerability of the United States and our allies to possible shocks from oil supply interruptions is significantly lessened.

Our energy cooperation with other countries through the International Energy Agency, which one portion of this bill will facilitate, is a clear example of our coordinated approach to energy security. The administration initially proposed and strongly supported the provisions of this legislation extending section 252 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, demonstrating our commitment to the IEA.

But we have done much more than this. In particular, we have built up our Strategic Petroleum Reserve at an impressive rate. During the 4 years of the previous administration, oil was added to the Reserve at a rate of only 75,000 bbl/day. Thus far during my administration, oil has been added at a rate of about 300,000 bbl/day, and we continue a firm policy of filling the Reserve as fast as permanent storage can be made available.

The Reserve now contains more than 265 million barrels, an amount equal to more than 6 months of our imports from Arab OPEC countries, at our import rate over the past year.

In a time of unprecedented efforts to restrain Federal spending, I authorized the Department of Energy to spend $5.8 billion to acquire oil for the Reserve. Under plans I have approved, DOE will spend an additional $6 billion between now and the end of FY 1984.

Very shortly after taking office, I totally removed remaining regulations on the price, production, and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products. I did this in the sure confidence that the American people, acting through the market system, would move toward optimal means of production and consumption, and I have not been disappointed. Oil production has begun to increase after years of decline. Our efficiency of use of all energy, and especially oil, has increased significantly. In the first half of 1982, we produced more goods and services than in the first half of 1978, but used almost 20 percent less oil. Our imports of foreign oil have fallen by almost 2 million bbl/day since 1980, bringing our dependence on foreign oil to less than 30 percent.

Our initiatives in increasing the opportunities for oil production from offshore lands will also aid both the United States and our allies by providing additional supply and restraining upward pressure on prices. In addition, United States actions in increasing coal exports and allowing increased exports of petroleum products have contributed to an improvement in the international energy situation.

Through the various studies and reports required in S. 2332, I am confident that the success of our energy policies will be well presented to the Congress and to the American people.

Note: As enacted, S. 2332 is Public Law 97 - 229, approved August 3.