Bush To Lift Executive Ban On Offshore Drilling For Oil

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

As an effort to deal with soaring gas prices, President Bush on Monday will lift an executive ban on offshore drilling that his stood since his father was president. But the move, by itself, will do nothing unless Congress acts as well.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said, the president plans to officially lift the ban and explain his actions in a Rose Garden statement.

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

President George W., trying to ease market tensions and boost supply, called last month for Congress to lift its prohibition before he did so himself.

But Perino said Bush no longer wants to wait. She pinned blame on the leaders of the Democratic Congress for inaction.

"They haven't even held a single hearing," said Perino. "So we are going to move forward, and hopefully that will spur action by the Congress."

When asked if Bush's action alone will lead to more oil drilling, Perino replied, "In terms of allowing more exploration to go forward? No, it does not."

In his final months of office, the president has responded to record gas-prices with a series of proposals, including more oil exploration.

According to White House Officials, none would have immediate impact on prices at the pump. They say it will be no quick fix, however, starting action now would help, they say.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, was upset by the president's decision. "That doesn't do anything to the price of gas," Nelson said. "The price of gas is being driven up by speculators."

Nelson said it would take years to extract any oil from newly opened areas. He also said oil companies have yet to drill on 68 million acres already available, plus 8 million acres that were opened to drilling under a compromise that Nelson said he helped arrange.

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