The Energy Policy and Conservation Act's Statutory Authority for an SPR Drawdown:
SEC. 3. As used in this Act:
(8) The term "severe energy supply interruption" means a national energy supply shortage which the President determines -
(A) is, or is likely to be, of significant scope and duration, and of an emergency nature;
(B) may cause major adverse impact on national safety or the national economy; and
(C) results, or is likely to result, from (i) an interruption in the supply of imported petroleum products, (ii) an interruption in the supply of domestic petroleum products, or (iii) sabotage or an act of God.
DRAWDOWN AND SALE OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
(d)(1) Drawdown and sale of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve may not be made unless the President has found drawdown and sale are required by a severe energy supply interruption or by obligations of the United States under the international energy program.
(2) For purposes of this section, in addition to the circumstances set forth in section 3 (8), a severe energy supply interruption shall be deemed to exist if the President determines that -
(A) an emergency situation exists and there is a significant reduction in supply which is of significant scope and duration;
(B) a severe increase in the price of petroleum products has resulted from such emergency situation; and
(C) such price increase is likely to cause a major adverse impact on the national economy."
(g)(1) The Secretary shall conduct a continuing evaluation of the Distribution Plan. In the conduct of such evaluation, the Secretary is authorized to carry out test drawdown and distribution of crude oil from the Reserve. If any such test drawdown includes the sale or exchange of crude oil, then the aggregate quantity of crude oil withdrawn from the Reserve may not exceed 5,000,000 barrels during any such test drawdown or distribution.
(h)(1) If the President finds that -
(A) a circumstance, other than those described in subsection (d) [above], exists that constitutes, or is likely to become, a domestic or international energy supply shortages of significant scope or duration; and
(B) action taken....would assist directly and significantly in preventing or reducing the adverse impact of such shortage,
then the Secretary may...draw down and distribute the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
(2) In no case may the Reserve be drawn down under this subsection -
(A) in excess of an aggregate of 30,000,000 barrels with respect to each such shortage;
(B) for more than 60 days with respect to each such shortage;
(C) if there are fewer than 500,000,000 barrels of petroleum product stored in the Reserve; or
(D) below the level of an aggregate of 500,000,000 barrels of petroleum product stored in the Reserve.