There has been a US ban on offshore oil drilling for the past 27 years, and George Bush Sr. signed off on an executive order echoing the ban in 1990. Originally, the ban was agreed upon to protect the beaches and tourism economies of coastal towns, and now global warming has been added into the mix.
With one stroke of the mighty pen, George Jr. has undone his father's order by lifting the ban on offshore drilling, but the move means nothing unless Congress also lifts its separate ban. The Bush Administration is trying to put pressure on Congress to throw out its ban, but so far the Democrat-controlled Congress isn't budging. Sen. Barbara Boxer called the move "something you'd expect from an oil company CEO, not the president of the United States."

President Bush has made no bones about his desire to drill for the billions of barrels of oil believed to be hidden beneath our coastlines, and with gas prices at $4.25 per gallon, much of America is on his side. The price of gas is now right up there with the war in Iraq and the economy as the top concern of Americans, so the Congress could be in a similar spot as the Republican controlled Congress was when it backed the Iraq war back in 2006. Many non-coastal Americans are more concerned about being able to afford fuel than they are about terrific views off the coast of Maine or beaches in south Florida. Instead our environment will have to be the rationale for Congress to uphold the ban. Will the Congress bow to public and political pressure and allow drilling, or will they risk re-election and do the right thing for the environment? Only time will tell.

[Source: Detroit News]

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