Obama to let oil drilling escalate in Alaska [w/video]

President Obama discusses oil drilling – Click above to watch video after the jump

As part of a broad plan aimed at blunting critics who say the President isn't doing enough to address soaring energy prices, Barack Obama announced during his weekly radio address on Saturday that drilling for oil in Alaska – a state that's thought to have vast oil reserves – will soon escalate.

Additionally, Obama's plan call for fast-tracking the environmental assessment of petroleum exploration in portions of the Atlantic Ocean and extends the leases of oil companies whose operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean was interrupted by Obama announcing a moratorium on deepwater drilling after British Petroleum's disastrous oil spill.

The measures come as gas prices hit levels that some analysts believe will threaten economic recovery and, possibly, Obama's bid for re-election in 2012. Republicans and even some Democrats have called upon Obama to enact measures to increase domestic oil production in response to soaring pump prices. Hit the jump to watch video of Obama's speech. Hat tip to Glen!

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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