Center for American Progress Action

Statement on President Bush Lifting the Offshore Drilling Ban
Press Statement

Statement on President Bush Lifting the Offshore Drilling Ban

By Daniel J. Weiss

President Bush’s decision to end the Outer Continental Shelf drilling moratorium will not make any difference in oil or gasoline prices until 2030. It will allow ExxonMobil and other big oil companies to exploit our seas from Malibu to Miami to Maine.  Everyone from the Department of Energy to T. Boone Pickens warns that drilling there won’t reduce prices until 2030—a generation from now.

Meanwhile, President Bush continues to oppose the one solution that would have an immediate effect on prices: sell a small amount of oil from the 98 percent full Strategic Petroleum Reserve, just like he did after Hurricane Katrina when oil was $68 per barrel. Today oil sells for nearly $145 per barrel.

This is oil paid for by the American taxpayer—it should be used to help them cope with skyrocketing gas prices. At least a half million barrels per day should be sold in the United States to add to supply and lower prices. This oil could begin to flow two weeks after Bush signed the order.

Significantly better efficiency and investments in renewable energy are the ultimate solutions to record oil and gas prices. Bush and McCain should end their opposition to extending tax incentives for efficiency and renewables. Bush should also issue the most efficient fuel economy standards possible to begin to reduce demand.”