Wednesday, June 18

'outdated and counterproductive'

That's how President Bush describes Federal Energy policy.

Extraordinary circumstances, extraordinary times. Bush has been consistent on drilling and building new refineries. It's been the cowards in Congress that haven't acted.

Bush asked the Democratic-controlled Congress to take action to expand access to the nation's Outer Continental Shelf.

"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 in a news conference in the White House Rose Garden.

Bush called on lawmakers to expand US oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, citing experts who say access the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil.

"That would be enough to match America's current oil production for almost 10 years," he said.

Florida Governor Crist now favors drilling, too.

And more from the President:
"We should expand oil production by tapping into the extraordinary potential of oil shale. Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other process[es]. In one major deposit -- the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming -- there lies the equivalent of about 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. That's more than three times larger than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. And it can be fully recovered -- and if it can be fully recovered it would be equal to more than a century's worth of currently projected oil imports.

"For many years, the high cost of extracting oil from shale exceeded the benefit. But today the calculus is changing. Companies have invested in technology to make oil shale production more affordable and efficient. And while the cost of extracting oil from shale is still more than the cost of traditional production, it is also less than the current market price of oil. This makes oil shale a highly promising resource.

"Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of further development. In last year's omnibus spending bill, Democratic leaders inserted a provision blocking oil shale leasing on federal lands. That provision can be taken out as easily as it was slipped in -- and Congress should do so immediately."

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