Bush to Lift Ban on Oil, Gas Drilling off U.S. Coasts
July 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush will lift a presidential moratorium on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.
Bush ``has decided to lift the executive ban on oil exploration in America's Outer Continental Shelf,'' White House spokesman Dana Perino told reporters. ``Congress has not moved forward despite calls from constituents and the continued pressure of record high energy prices.''
Pressure to permit drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has been building as oil and gasoline prices have surged to records.
Congress has barred drilling since 1983 through an annual Interior Department spending bill. That ban could be lifted if Bush refused to sign the department's fiscal 2009 appropriations measure that is now being debated in both the House and Senate.