OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As Oklahoma begins to reopen and get life back to normal, lawmakers in Washington are keeping a close eye on how things are unfolding across the country.
Sen. James Lankford says that states across the country are starting to reopen.
“Quite a few states have already chosen to be able to set phase one in place. Obviously, Oklahoma has done that, Colorado, multiple other states throughout the Midwest, East, and Northwest. It’s been interesting to be able to see states do exactly this phase one, phase two, phase three approach, say ‘Look at the data, examine what’s best.’ If it’s not working right now for your state, hold on it. If it is, then start the process of reopening and let’s evaluate it. As we know, a quarter of the counties in America have zero cases right now at all. So finding those certain regions, certain places even within the state, to be able to start slowly reopen is the key right now,” Lankford said.
As the economy deals with the coronavirus, another challenge is also the sudden drop in oil prices.
“Yeah, this is one of the great challenges during the CARES Act when it passed over a month ago now. When it was in the Senate side, we wanted to be able to purchase additional oil and put it in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve where we have around 77 million barrels of additional capacity where we can store. It wouldn’t solve the problem but it would help short-term our storage issues. That was blocked by the House and that was a very frustrating move back and forth on it. The key issue right now is we’re still trying to find ways to lease that space so that we can at least make it open to store some of that excess capacity there,” Lankford said.
“Our problem right now is people aren’t driving, obviously, so we have excess gasoline and excess oil all around the world. Large amounts that are trying to come in to storage and we don’t have a lot of storage left, so that creates this rock bottom price that’s happening right now. It really won’t change until people start driving again.”
Lankford says that the Senate will head back to the Capitol next week but they will still practice social distancing.