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Jewish Groups Urge U.S. Not to Cut Oil Reserve

Three American Jewish organizations have urged the Reagan Administration and Congress to maintain the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) supply level at 186,000 barrels per day and not reduce it by 41,000 barrels as the Administration has proposed.

It is essential for the United States “to develop a clerly defined and equitable policy concerning use of the strategic petroleum reserve in the event of a possible emergency,” the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith said in a joint statement.

They added that the reserve “is only one element in a necessary coordinated international effort to cope with possible disruption of oil supply.”

The statement was signed by Howard Friedman, president of the AJCommittee; Theodore Mann, president of the AJCongress; and Kenneth Bialkin, the national chairman of the ADL.

CONTINGENCY PLAN URGED

“The current warnings about an oil cut off as a result of the Iran-Iraq war underscore the need for the U.S. to be adequately prepared, ” the statement said. “Therefore we urge the U.S. and its industrial allies. who are far more dependent on Persian Gulf oil than is the U.S., to intensify their deliberations to produce an agreement on a timely and effective contingency plan.”

In order to stem any spiraling of oil prices caused by a possible oil supply shortage, the three spokesman said that “the U.S. should be prepared to make early and aggressive use of the strategic petroleum reserve, ” mentioning the sale of options on domestic reserves as one means to get oil into the market. In addition, they recommended that a test draw-down auction of the SPR be tried as soon as possible.

Furthermore, Congress was urged by the three national Jewish organizations to pass provisions offering financial assistance for the elderly poor and for low income families in the event of higher oil prices.

A package of amendments to the Emergency Preparedness Act of 1984 that call for the maintenance of present levels of strategic reserves, the establishment of options selling and financial assistance for the poor has been introduced in the Senate by Bill Bradley (D. N.J.) and is now being considered by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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