President Bush has done his part and now it will be up to Congress to do theirs. President Bush is lifting an executive order restricting offshore continental shelf drilling, an order put in place by George H.W. Bush in 1990. President Bush said in this speech,
“The only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Ben Lieberman writes that OCS restrictions are a relic of the past; they were put in place to please environmentalists at a time when energy was cheap and demands could be affordably met. Lieberman writes,
Recent DOI estimates put the amount of energy in these off-limits areas at 19.1 billion barrels of oil and 83.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—approximately 30 years’ worth of imports from Saudi Arabia and enough natural gas to power America’s homes for 17 years.”
Granted, OCS restrictions should have been lifted years ago in order to have the supply of oil and natural gas available today; however, lifting the executive order is a step in the right direction. Gas prices are above $4 a gallon nationally, and without opening up exploration or drilling, these prices will continue to rise. Without increasing supply and easing regulations, there will be little relief in sight. Congress should take advantage of these closing months of the Bush administration and address America’s energy concerns.