Bush to urge lifting of ban on offshore drilling

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:55pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will make an announcement on Wednesday about energy and call on Congress to pass legislation lifting a ban on offshore oil drilling, the White House said.

"With gasoline now over $4 a gallon, tomorrow he will explicitly call on Congress to also pass legislation lifting the congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Tuesday.

Republicans have called for ending a ban on offshore drilling that has been in place since 1981, but Democrats have repeatedly rebuffed such attempts on environmental concerns.

"The president believes Congress shouldn't waste any more time," Perino said.

Bush was not expected to push for passage of a specific bill, but will call on Congress to pass legislation to lift the ban on offshore drilling in the outer Continental shelf, a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.

Record-high gasoline prices have raised fears about the adverse impact on the U.S. economy.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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