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Capps blasts Bush on offshore drilling

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A new push by President George W. Bush to open up additional oil drilling off U.S. coastlines will “jeopardize California’s economy and environment,” according to U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, a Santa Barbara Democrat.

Citing high gas prices, Bush said on June 18 that a federal ban is outdated and called for the entire Continental Shelf to be opened for drilling and exploration.

A feeral moratorium was imposed in 1981, and Bush’s father issued an executive order on the same topic during his term. Bush said that he would reverse the executive order, but he wants Congress to act first.

Capps said in a statement that she’s “confident” Congress will reject the push and uphold the ban on new drilling that has been in place for decades.

The question has been a controversial one for years in California, where leaders fear increased offshore drilling would mar views and threaten the coastal environment.

Capps took special aim at John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, who has also called for increased offshore drilling.

The current moratorium to new drilling protects about 85 percent of American coastline from drilling operations.

Several Santa Barbara offshore drilling operations have been grandfathered in.

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