Yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he’d be open to letting Big Oil drill on previously-protected public lands. And now this:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Bush to release oil from the government’s emergency reserve to knock down gasoline prices she says “are helping push the economy toward recession.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., in a letter to Bush noted that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been used three times before and each time the action has served to stabilize oil markets and lower gas prices. […]

Bush turned to the reserves when hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted oil supplies in 2005. A total of 21 million barrels were made available to refineries “with great effectiveness to address emergency energy needs in the crisis,” according to an Energy Department inspector general’s report.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Hate to be the petroleum party pooper, but am I the only one who’s worried about what happens if a major hurricane hits the Gulf of Mexico this summer? If we’re pushing the post-hurricane panic button now, what do we push when there’s actual panic? Can our panic meter go to 11?