Obama Flip Flops on US Oil Drilling
President Obama, facing voter anger over high gasoline prices and complaints from Republicans and business leaders that his policies are restricting the development of domestic energy resources, announced Saturday that he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.
It was at least a partial concession to his critics at a time when consumers are paying near-record prices at the gas pump. The Republican-led House passed three bills in the last 10 days that would significantly expand and accelerate oil development in the United States, saying the administration was driving up gas prices and preventing job creation with antidrilling policies.
Administration officials said the president’s announcement, which included plans for expanded drilling in Alaska and the prospect of new exploration off the Atlantic coast, was intended in part to answer these arguments, signal flexibility and demonstrate his commitment to reducing oil imports by increasing domestic production.