FOX News | Seeking to address mounting criticism over high gas prices, President Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska.
Obama said Saturday that the measures “make good sense” and will help reduce U.S. consumption of imported oil in the long term. But he acknowledged anew that they won’t help to immediately bring down gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon in many parts of the country.
His announcement followed passage in the Republican-controlled House of three bills — including two this week — that would expand and speed up offshore oil and gas drilling. Republicans say the bills are aimed at easing gasoline costs, but they also acknowledge that won’t be immediate.
The White House had announced its opposition to all three bills, which are unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, saying the measures would undercut safety reviews and open environmentally sensitive areas to new drilling. MORE