Monday, July 14, 2008

Bush Lifts Presidential Ban on Off-Shore Drilling, Congressional Ban Still in Place

There is an old saying, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." Given the state of the nation's economy and the exorbitant price of fuel, President Bush has removed the Presidential ban on offshore drilling, and calls for Congress to follow suite.
Recent polling data has shown a shift in the American desire to drill off our coastal shores. Soaring fuel prices over the past two years, despite Democratic promises to work to bring them down, have put a strain on the American economy and the wallet of the average American family. Rising fuel prices have driven up the cost of nearly everything, from food to services, and American's are demanding something be done to truly change the situation.

The introduction of bio-fuels in certain markets has proven unreliable as a current alternative and remedy to the fuel situation; even the blending of grain fuels into petroleum products have left consumers complaining of decreased fuel mileage and performance in their automobiles. The auto industry itself is suffering from a lack of sales, and a look in the vehicle section of the local classified ads in newspapers around the country show a significant increase in the number of SUV's, pick-up trucks, and larger cars being offered for sale at near give-away prices.

Today, President Bush took the first step in doing something from a governmental level to help take the stress off of consumers by signing an executive order rescinding the Presidential ban on off shore drilling along the United States coastal regions, and called for Congress to remove the Congressional ban, as well. (Full text of speech here)

"This is a difficult period for millions of American families," Bush said. "Every extra dollar they have to spend because of high gas prices is one dollar less they can use to put food on the table or send a child to school. And they are rightly angered by Congress' failure to enact common-sense solutions."

Bush said increasing access to offshore exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf is one of the most important steps the country can take. He laid blame on Democrats who he said have rejected "virtually every proposal" to expand domestic oil production.

"... Congress has restricted access to key parts of the OCS since the early 1980s," Bush said. "Experts believe that these restricted areas of the OCS could eventually produce nearly 10 years' worth of America's current annual oil production. And advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills."

Historically significant is the fact that the original Presidential ban on drilling was signed into being by the President's father during his term in office as President in 1990. The Congressional ban came around the same time period.

This is President Bush's second call for Congress to remove their ban, having made the first request in June.

Environmental groups and activists are already denouncing the executive order, with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) proclaiming that such a move will destroy the economy of the country's coastal region.

Frankly, I'm not sure how that would be the case, given that there would be a migration of oil workers to towns along the coast for access to transportation to and from work on ocean based oil rigs, a move that would bring commerce into those regions in the form of housing sales, goods and services being sold and rendered, and the addition of jobs in those fields to support the influx of new population into those regions.

It is by no means going to be a quick fix, if and when Congress does lift their ban on off-shore drilling, but such an action would clear the way for oil production domestically, and perhaps the reinvestment of refinery processes on American soil, thereby creating more jobs in that area, as well.

The next move is up to Congress, leaving the American people to wait and see if their Congressmen and Senators are paying attention to what the American public is demanding of them.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man


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