Bush: ever the opportunist, lifts oil drilling ban

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George W. Bush certainly has chutzpah. Ever the opportunist, he has taken advantage of high oil prices to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling. Americans continue to allow this President free reign and Congress as allowed him creeping presidential power, abdicating its role as a check on the executive branch. First, there was FISA where Congress caved, including Barack Obama. Now, we have another opportunity for Congress to step up to the plate. Will they?

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Let’s give Bush credit; lame duck or not, George W. Bush is getting what he wants.

President George W. Bush said today he’s lifting a presidential ban 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.

“Today I’ve taken every step within my power to allow offshore exploration of the OCS,” Bush said in a statement at the White House. “This means the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action by the U.S. Congress.”

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 the House and Senate. The president’s father, George H. W. Bush, imposed the existing executive moratorium.

Bloomberg News, 14 Jul 2008

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