The President rips Democrats for opposing offshore drilling
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush chastised Democrats on Saturday for refusing to allow a vote on whether to lift the federal ban on offshore oil drilling before lawmakers departed for their summer recess.
"To reduce pressure on prices, we need to increase the supply of oil, especially oil produced here at home," Bush said in his weekly radio address. It was the fourth time this week that he has called for Congress to end the drilling restrictions off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Some of the drilling moratoriums have been in place since 1981 for environmental reasons and concerns that energy development might harm coastal tourist industries.
Bush acknowledged it would be years before any of the oil beneath the offshore waters could be pumped, but he said "lifting the ban would create new opportunities for American workers and businessmen."
"But the leaders of the Democratic Congress have refused to allow a vote" on whether the drilling moratoriums should be lifted, Bush complained.
Most energy experts and the government's own research agency at the Energy Department have said drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, which is now off-limits, would have no impact on current gasoline prices and probably would have none for years.
Congressional Democrats have argued that oil companies already have large areas of federal land and waters where they can drill for oil, especially in Alaska and off its coast.
"The president knows ... that the impact of any new drilling will be insignificant, promising savings of only pennies per gallon many years down the road," says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called the demand to lift the drilling bans a hoax.
Pelosi, D-Calif., has refused to bring up for House consideration various Republican proposals to lift the offshore drilling moratoriums that Congress has renewed annually for years.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada offered to consider a GOP offshore drilling proposals, but when Republicans demanded votes on a number of other energy proposals, he withdrew his offer...
My Way News - Bush rips Democrats for opposing offshore drilling