US President George W. Bush has lifted a White House ban on offshore oil drilling and urged lawmakers to follow suit amid an election-year fight over painfully high gasoline prices.
"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" about legislative prohibitions, he said in a brief statement in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
...The existing ban may be renewed or modified when it expires September 30, and the White House wants legislation that would give states a say in whether to allow offshore drilling, how much and where, and how to manage revenues.
Bush's announcement came two weeks before lawmakers leave for their month-long August recess, at a time when four out of five Americans tell public opinion surveys that sky-high gasoline prices cause considerable economic pain.
"As the Democratically controlled Congress has sat idle, gas prices have continued to increase. Failure to act is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me, and it's unacceptable to the American people," he said.
...Under the 1981 federal moratorium, states are prohibited from allowing offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration, protecting virtually the entire Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and sections of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Governor of oil-rich Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, welcomed Bush's announcement.
"Louisiana produces 30 percent to 40 percent of the nation's oil and gas off our coast. It is certainly good for our economy ... It is also good for the nation," he told Fox News.
"We're sending tens of billions of dollars overseas, often to countries who are not friendly to us ... this is one of the reasons we've got such a large trade deficit," the Indian-American governor said.
Friday, May 21, 2010
It's important to remember whom to blame (h/t Jerry):