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Hey Congress: It's Drill Here, Drill Now!

Kudos to President Bush for lifting the presidential ban on offshore drilling. According to a story posted this afternoon, the Washington Post reports (article + video) that earlier today the President:

“lifted a presidential ban on offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf that was implemented by his father, escalating a confrontation with Democrats in Congress over how to cope with soaring gasoline prices.

“Lifting the executive moratorium has no immediate practical effect, because Congress enacted its own prohibition on offshore drilling in 1981. It would have to be rescinded for exploration to proceed.

“In a Rose Garden statement at the White House, Bush argued that allowing drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines would ease pressure on oil prices by increasing domestic production.”

In a statement from the Republican Study Committee, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said:

“Our energy problems are all about supply and demand, and as prices at the pump continue to soar, we must continue to take steps to increase the supply of American-made energy.  In addition to our deep sea resources, I hope that we take the legislative steps necessary to further increase production of American energy by lifting restrictions on exploration for energy in the intermountain West and in arctic Alaska.

“We must also work to reduce in the number of boutique fuels and expand the America’s domestic refining capacity.  We also need to emphasize the importance of renewable energy and alternative technologies like coal to liquids, which are clearly the future.  These common sense actions would increase global energy production and immediately send price-reduction signals to the futures markets.”

In other news reporting, the New York Times said the President is “hoping to prod Congress to act to clear the way for exploration along the country’s coastline in response to soaring energy prices.” Not unexpectedly, the Boston Globe reports New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation is “divided along party lines . . . on offshore oil drilling.” However, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) makes what has to rank among today’s dumbest statement of the day, saying:

"We need leaders who will stand up for the American people instead of standing up for the oil companies."

What we need, Rep. Shea-Porter, are leaders who care more about the burdens of the American people such as the price of gasoline. That, Ms. Shea-Porter, involves first and foremost drilling for more oil. Whining about releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve or cracking down on speculators or calling the President’s action “a political stunt” will not do a thing to increase the supply of oil and lower prices at the gas pump.

In case the three previous news reports don’t provide you with enough quotes of why something cannot be done, here is one other from the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal today:

“The president is trying to make this a political gimmick, and we’re trying to figure out a way to do something about these (gasoline) prices,” Reid said. “And we are interested in increasing domestic production but we want to be realistic as to what expectations should be.”

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