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Why are we tapping into our 'strategic' oil reserves?

What is so strategic about President Obama's decision to release 30 million barrels of oil from the nation's emergency reserve?

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume this might have something to do with it (emphases mine):

Republicans have repeatedly slammed President Obama over the unusually high prices, and Obama himself has noted his poll numbers appear to rise and fall with the price of gasoline. Many political strategists say that voter anger over near-record oil and gasoline prices could be a determining factor in the 2012 elections.

h/t Hot Air, which also notes this response from the American Petroleum Institute (again, emphases mine):

The release makes little sense for American markets. Crude and gasoline inventories are above average, and crude and gasoline prices have been trending down for weeks, despite the loss of Libyan oil, which markets have already adjusted to. The SPR was intended to be used for supply emergencies. There is no supply emergency. We don’t know what impacts this might have on markets long term. But we could and should be taking steps that would increase our own production by 2 million barrels a day or more for decades, which is possible if the government would grant much greater access to America’s ample oil and natural gas reserves. This would do vastly more to help consumers, increase energy security, create jobs and deliver more revenue to our government. It’s action that would truly strengthen our energy future, not a temporary gesture that has no lasting benefits.

30 million barrels is about what our nation consumes in a day-and-a-half. 60 million barrels (the total IEA release) is well under what the world consumes in a day.

One last thing…
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