George Bush, the US president, has called on the US congress to end its ban on offshore oil drilling and open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration.
Bush said congressional restrictions in place since 1981 had become "outdated and counterproductive" after global oil prices rose to their highest ever levels.
"Congress must face a hard reality. Unless members are willing to accept gas prices at today's painful levels or even higher, our nation must produce more oil, and we must start now," Bush said.
Bush, speaking at the White House on Wednesday, also called for an end to the ban on oil shale drilling and for the US to build more oil refineries.
Global crude oil prices have risen to nearly 140 dollars a barrel, and US petrol prices now average more than four dollars a gallon, a rise of one dollar from a year ago.
Under the 1981 federal ban, states are prohibited from allowing offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration, protecting almost the entire Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and sections of
the Gulf of Mexico.
Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan said environmentalists were likely to be outraged by Bush's proposal.
Perhaps we ought to focus on cutting our dependency on oil full stop, or is that a little too radical?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008