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Letter to President George W. Bush, Kingston Secures Veto-Sustaining Majority in Support of Offshore Drilling


Location: Washington, DC


Congressman seeks to block attempts to continue outdated ban on American energy

After failing to pass a single spending bill this year, congressional Democrats are forced this week to pass a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government after the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2008. To block efforts by Democratic leaders to continue the congressional ban on offshore drilling, Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-1) today sent a letter to the President asking him to veto any CR containing the moratorium.

"We have worked all year for a vote on this issue," Congressman Kingston said, "and it's a shame that the only way to have an open debate is through the CR. If the Speaker opened the floor for a full debate, this would not be necessary. In light of her refusal to do so, we're ready to force a vote and give the American people the right to explore American energy."

With 151 signatories, the letter exceeds the veto-sustaining threshold and would block attempts to sneak in a continuation of the moratorium through another fiscal year. Though House Democrats forced through a watered down energy package earlier this year, its provisions would nearly cripple efforts to open up American energy resources.

"When the President lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling earlier this year he put the ball squarely in Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid's court," said Congressman Kingston. "Yet they have refused to help bring down the price at the pump by opening American resources. This ban was instituted in the eighties when the cassette tapes were cutting edge technology. We're now in the era of the iPod and it's time to update our energy policy to fit the times. We can open offshore drilling in an environmentally sensitive and safe way."

Congress first enacted a ban on offshore drilling in 1982 and has renewed it each year since, allowing drilling only in the western Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska. President George H.W. Bush enacted an executive order banning leasing in areas covered by the congressional ban through 2000. In 1998, President Bill Clinton extended that ban through 2012. President George W. Bush lifted that ban in July and called on Congress to do the same.

Public opinion has turned solidly behind offshore drilling with seven in ten Americans supporting the practice as a means to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Despite this growing consensus, congressional Democrats have refused to pass legislation that would permit the practice.

The text of the letter reads:

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As you know, the Democrats in the House of Representatives have been unable to pass a single Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bill. However, with the end of FY2008 looming, we know they will be forced to bring some of these bills and/or a Continuing Resolution to the floor before September 30, 2008 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

We are concerned that Democrats will force a vote on a Continuing Resolution containing a number of riders, including the moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas exploration. The American people support increasing our American energy resources by opening up the OCS to oil and natural gas exploration, and we strongly urge you to veto any spending bills that would continue the moratorium on OCS drilling.

Thank you for your consideration and for your leadership on this critical issue.

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