Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the shutdown of a major oil pipeline from Alaska highlights the oil supply problem that plagues the U.S. Grassley says there’s not much flexibility between the oil wells and the gas tank — only about 17 to 20 days flexibility. So Grassley says when you lose 400-thousand gallons of oil a day, it’s bound to affect the price.

Grassley, a Republican, says Congress has tried to increase the supply, but has faced opposition for plans to drill in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. “And that’s why I wish people would get off the kick that ‘well we can’t drill here and we can’t drill there’,” Grassley says. “Until we can get more ethanol production, until we can get more people to think about conserving, and the people are going to have to make that decision, the government can’t make it for them, you know we need more supply.”

Grassley says more supply means drilling wherever we can drill for oil. Grassley says he’s frustrated with the people who’re complaining about high gas prices and saying the government isn’t doing enough to help the energy crisis. Grassley says they’re the very same people who’re objecting to increased oil drilling. Grassley says you can’t complain about the price of oil, and then protest when the government wants to drill for more oil wherever we can.

Some people are blaming the oil company for not paying closer attention to the condition of the oil pipeline — but Grassley says that’s irrelevant. Grassley says the pipeline still has to be shut down to be fixed, so it doesn’t matter when they shut it down. Grassley says the only good thing is that the pipeline was shut down before there was environmental damage from a spill.

Grassley would support a move to open up the strategic oil reserves if the oil is needed to keep the refineries at their peak production of gasoline. Grassley says there’s a “big bottleneck” at the refineries and if we aren’t getting oil from Alaska, we need to get it from somewhere else to keep the refineries operating. Grassley says two-thirds of the U.S. oil supply comes from outside the country and anything we can do to increase the supply at home will help.