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Bush to urge Congress to allow offshore drilling
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President Bush plans to make a renewed push Wednesday to get Congress to end a long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, echoing a call by GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

Congressional Democrats have opposed lifting the prohibitions on energy development on nearly all federal Outer Continental Shelf waters for more than a quarter-century, including waters along both the East and West coasts.

President Bush, accompanied by Vice President Dick Cheney, makes a statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, after meeting with officials about the Midwest flooding. [Agencies]

With oil prices soaring and motorists paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, political pressures have been growing for more domestic oil and gas production.

"The president believes Congress shouldn't waste any more time," White House press secretary Dana Perino told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"He will explicitly call on Congress to ... pass legislation lifting the congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling," Perino said, "He wants to work with states to determine where offshore drilling should occur."

Bush also will reiterate his call for development of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Perino said. McCain has opposed drilling in the refuge, maintaining that the pristine areas in northeastern Alaska should be protected from energy development.

On Monday, McCain made lifting the federal ban on offshore oil and gas development a key part of his energy plan. The Arizona senator said states should be allowed to pursue energy exploration in waters near their coasts and receive some of the royalty revenue.

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