President Bush on Monday lifted an executive ban on offshore oil drilling and challenged Congress to follow suit, aiming to turn the enormous public frustration about gasoline prices into political leverage. Democratic lawmakers rejected Bush's plan as a symbolic stunt.
With gas prices topping $4.10 a gallon nationally, Bush made his most assertive move to extend oil exploration, an energy priority of his presidency. By lifting the executive prohibition against coastal drilling, Bush rescinded a White House policy that his own father put in place in 1990.
The move will have no practical effect unless Congress acts, too. Both executive and legislative bans must be lifted before offshore exploration can happen.