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Bush calls for US offshore oil exploration

Thursday, June 19, 2008

United States President George W. Bush delivered a speech Wednesday in which he urged the United States Congress to end a ban on oil exploration off of US shores. Currently there is both an executive order and a Congressional moratorium against such exploration.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne looks on as President Bush delivered his statement Wednesday in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The Congress issued its moratorium in 1981. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

President Bush said that "we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America's current oil production for almost ten years."

"I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past," President Bush said. "Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act."

Senator John McCain, who is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, said on Tuesday that he favors offshore drilling.

Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from the Democratic Party, said: "This week’s flip-flop on offshore oil drilling by President Bush and Senator John McCain is nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices, and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits."

"It's cynical to say that we can drill our way out of this mess," said Athan Manuel, of the environmental group Sierra Club. "The solution to $4 gas is not off our coast."

A recent poll conducted by Reuters/Zogby showed that about 60% of Americans support more oil drilling and refinery construction, yet nearly the same percentage also say they are in favor of conservation.

"We will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline. We will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. We will benefit American workers by keeping our nation competitive in the global economy — and by creating good jobs in construction, and engineering, and refining, maintenance, and many other areas," said Bush in his speech.


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