The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 14, 2008

Fact Sheet: Allowing Offshore Exploration to Help Address Rising Fuel Costs

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Outer Continental Shelf Exploration

President Bush Lifts An Executive Ban On Oil Exploration In America's Outer Continental Shelf And Calls On Congress To Lift Its Legislative Ban

Today, President Bush lifted an executive ban on producing oil from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the Democratically controlled Congress.  To reduce pressure on prices, President Bush recognizes the need to increase the supply of oil – especially here at home.   For years, his Administration has called on Congress to expand domestic oil production.  Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal – and now Americans are paying the price.  When Members of Congress were home for the Fourth of July recess, they heard a clear message from their constituents: take action now to expand domestic oil production.

Increased Access To Offshore Exploration In The OCS Is One Of The Most Important Steps To Expand American Oil Production

Experts believe that OCS areas under leasing prohibitions could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil.  We will not know for certain until exploration is allowed.  The problem is that Congress has restricted access to much of the OCS since the early 1980s.  Since then, 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.  With these advances – and the dramatic increase in oil prices – these Congressional restrictions have become outdated and counterproductive.

The Time For Democrats In Congress To Act Is Now

Democratic leaders can show that they have finally heard the frustrations of the American people by matching the action President Bush has taken today, repealing the Congressional ban, and passing legislation to facilitate responsible offshore exploration.  This legislation must allow States to have a say in what happens off their shores, provide a way for the Federal Government and States to share new leasing revenues, and ensure the environment is protected. 

These Proposals Will Take Years To Have Their Full Impact, So We Should Move Quickly

For the long run, we are dealing with the demand for oil by promoting alternative energy technologies.  President Bush's Administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hybrid vehicles, mandated a large expansion in the use of alternative fuels, and raised fuel efficiency standards to ambitious new levels.  With all these steps, we are bringing America closer to the day when we can significantly reduce our reliance on oil.

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