Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls President Bush’s lifting Monday of the executive ban on offshore drilling in protected coastal areas nothing more than a political stunt that “will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy independence.”
Pelosi lashed out at the president’s announcement by saying, “Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil,” according to a statement released to PRNewsire.
"The Bush plan is a hoax,” Pelosi declares. “It just gives millions more acres to the same companies that are sitting on nearly 68 million acres of public lands and coastal areas," she says in response to the president’s recent series of proposals to combat record oil prices, including more oil exploration.
The ban on drilling in coastal areas has been an ongoing battle in recent months as the energy crunch and resultant high prices have affected the world market for oil in general, and America in particular.
In an effort to ease the burden on U.S. consumption of foreign oil, the Bush administration now favors opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other offshore areas to exploration
“For years, my administration has been calling on Congress to expand domestic oil production,” Bush said during a Rose Garden presidential address Monday. “Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal — and now Americans are paying at the pump.”
"If the President wants to bring down prices in the next two weeks – not the next two decades – he should free our oil by releasing a small portion of the more than 700 million barrels of oil we have put in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” Pelosi fires back.
"It's time to tell the oil industry: 'You already have millions of acres to drill. Use it or lose it.'"
“I’ve been in Washington long enough to know a political stunt when I see one,” agrees Ill. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “The good news is the American people won’t be fooled. If the President wants to lower gas prices, he should stop hosting press conferences and start taking action,” he tells The New York Times.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tells The Times that drilling on the outer continental shelf “will do nothing to lower gas prices, but will mean one more handout to those who are already enjoying billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.”
Hoyer says, “If the oil companies wanted more domestic drilling, they could begin today. They could begin on the 68 million acres of land that are already set aside, leased, and available.”
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