Drilling for oil off the US coast has the support of John McCain and President Bush, but not Barack Obama.
Despite a plea to Congress by Bush yesterday, the Illinois Democrat rejected lifting the drilling moratorium that has been backed by presidents of both parties for nearly two decades.
"This is not something that's going to give consumers short-term relief and it is not a long-term solution to our problems with fossil fuels generally and oil in particular," Obama said. Click here for more.
Obama earlier had rejected a McCain proposal to cut federal taxes on gasoline over the summer as a way to help motorists shelling out $4 a gallon. The Democratic presidential candidate instead has proposed a windfall profits tax on oil companies and has enouraged massive investment in renewable sources of energy
In backing McCain's plan to re-start offshore drilling yesterday, Bush reversed his previous position and that of his brother, Jeb, an outspoken drilling opponent while governor of Florida. Their father, George H.W. Bush, issued an executive order as president in 1991 banning offshore drilling.
Yesterday, the younger President Bush again proposed opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, a move that McCain has opposed.
Senator Dick Durbin said oil companies already have the rights to drill on 68 million acres of American soil that aren't currently under development and added that Bush has to deal with ''reality.''
"The reality is oil companies are making profits at record-breaking levels,'' ABC News quoted Durbin as saying. "The reality is that speculation is driving the price of oil up. And the reality is that the president of the United States has yet to call the oil company executives into the Oval Office to tell them they're wrecking the economy."
Offshore oil drilling is a tricky issue politically. The English newspaper The Guardian today cited a Zogby poll indicating that 60 percent of Americans polled favored offshore drilling -- but a same percentage also favored strong fuel conservation measures.
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