Bush lifts ban on offshore oil drilling despite opposition

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Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Bush lifts ban on offshore oil drilling despite opposition
09:14, July 15, 2008

U.S. President George W. Bush lifted on Monday an executive ban on offshore oil drilling,
while calling on Congress to act as well.

"The American people are watching the numbers climb higher and higher at the pump and
they're waiting to see what the Congress will do," Bush told reporters at.

"Now the ball is squarely in Congress' court," said the president. "The time for action is
now."

"Failure to act is unacceptable," he said, noting Americans are "paying at the pump."

There are two prohibitions on offshore drilling, one imposed by Congress and another by
executive order signed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Bush, in his final months of office, has repeatedly urged the Democrats-dominant Congress
to lift legislative restrictions on such activity before they begin a recession in August.

The U.S. economy suffers from gasoline prices hike that has reached over 4 U.S. dollars a
gallon (3.785 liter), and U.S. Congress and the White House are stressing different ways to
ease the oil crisis.

The White House insisted that increase in U.S. oil drilling will help to deal with the soaring
gas prices.

"Crude oil prices are up and one reason crude oil prices are up is because demand is
outstripping supply," the president said last week.

"Now the only thing standing between consumers at the pump and the increased American
energy they are demanding is the Democrat leadership in Congress," also said Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "We should act and act now."

However, many Democrats in the Congress refused to lift the drilling ban, noting oil
companies already have 68 million acres under government leases they can drill and any
new oil from now-closed offshore areas would not be available for five to 10 years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has renewed her request to President Bush for more
government-held oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be released onto the market to
check prices, which has been always resisted by the president.

"Right now the president has 700 million barrels of oil. He can release a small percent of it,
less than 10 percent of it; have immediate impact on the price at the pump now, within 10
days, not within 10 years," Pelosi said.

"Let's be clear: Democrats support increasing the domestic production of petroleum and
other energy resources," also said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer last week.

He said the legislation would speed up development of the National Petroleum Reserve in
Alaska, and reimpose a ban on foreign export of Alaskan oil.

Bush's move was immediately condemned by environmentalists who said drilling would not
end U.S. dependence on oil or cut the prices at the pump.

"The solutions to this problem are not off our coasts," Athan Manuel, director of lands
protection for Sierra Club, said. "The U.S. does not contain enough oil to influence the world
market."

Earlier Monday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said initially the president
wanted to lift the executive ban in concert with Congress but decided to go ahead alone due
to strong opposition from the Democrats.

"It has been nearly a month since the president urged the Congress to act to expand
environmentally-friendly and responsible exploration for American energy," Perino told
reporters.

"Congress has not moved forward despite calls from constituents and the continued
pressure of record high energy prices," she said.

"Source:Xinhua"