Bush asks Congress to end ban on oil and gas drilling

US president George W Bush has called on Congress to scrap the 1981 ban on offshore oil and gas drilling and to allow exploration and drilling in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Bloomberg News reports.

The motivation behind his plea, Bush said, was the “pressing concern” of petrol prices in the United States. Energy costs are considered a key issue for voters in this presidential election year, but many are opposed to offshore drilling.

The Republican Party candidate, John McCain — who has promised to break from the energy policies of the Bush administration — supports Bush’s call for offshore drilling. Barack Obama, the Democratic challenger, remains opposed. “This is not something that is going to give relief now, and it’s not a long-term solution”, he said of Bush’s plans.

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