This week’s debates notwithstanding….
President Bush’s lifting of the executive ban on offshore drilling this week is more than a symbolic gesture. It means the only thing preventing expanded offshore oil-and-gas development is a temporary, one-year congressional ban set to expire on September 30. While Congress has a habit of re-imposing this ban each year, it has never gotten around to writing it into permanent law. This creates a key opportunity for supporters of domestic energy production, including the president, to force a showdown.
And from Larry Kudlow:
The congressional ban on offshore drilling expires September 30, so that becomes a key date. A new report from Wall Street research house Sanford C. Bernstein says that California actually could start producing new oil within one year if the moratorium were lifted. The California oil is under shallow water and already has been explored. Drilling platforms have been in place since before the moratorium. They’re talking about 10 billion barrels worth off the coast of California.
With gas prices rising, California residents are softening their long-held opposition to offshore drilling, a new opinion poll suggests.
The shift comes as Congress and the Bush administration are escalating a battle over whether to end a two-decade federal ban on drilling off the coasts of California, Florida and the Eastern seaboard.
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