Backing up McCain, Bush calls for ending offshore drilling moratorium
President Bush has joined John McCain in calling for an end to the offshore drilling moratorium that’s been in effect for most U.S. waters since the early 1980s. Bush’s reversal on the offshore-drilling issue follows on the heels of McCain’s big energy speech in Houston on Tuesday, where he advocated offshore drilling as a way to lower energy prices. Industry analysts have estimated that ending the ban now wouldn’t increase domestic oil supplies for at least seven to 10 years, and even then, opponents say, it wouldn’t significantly lower energy prices nor foster energy independence. But Bush came out in support of offshore drilling anyway, blaming congressional Democrats for the world’s oil-price woes. “[In the short term], the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil, and that means we need to increase supply, especially here at home,” Bush said. “Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal, and now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction.” Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), long an opponent of offshore drilling, recently shifted his position too, citing $4-a-gallon gasoline.