Google+ THE TALK SHOW AMERICAN: Poll: Support For Drilling Up, Climate Change Down

Poll: Support For Drilling Up, Climate Change Down

Contrary to claims by Al Gore and others that global warming is the greatest challenge of our time, Americans by better than 3-to-1 say the price of gasoline is a bigger problem now, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll.

Moreover, they stand willing to do something about it, including and especially drilling for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf and in federal shale reserves in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Even drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is backed by a plurality of Americans.

The poll of 920 adults taken last week shows that 73% think "fuel prices at the pump" are a bigger problem for the country than climate change, the new term for global warming.

Only 23% say climate change is more important.

Support for offshore drilling and oil shale development is also broad-based, with the former favored by 64% of respondents and the latter by 65%.

The results suggest President Bush has strong public support as he puts pressure on Congress to back more exploration for oil.

Republicans favor ANWR development by 68% to 27%; Democrats oppose it 56% to 40%.

Independents are split down the middle.

Bush has proposed opening ANWR for drilling, lifting restrictions on oil-shale leasing in the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, and easing the regulatory process to expand oil refining capacity.

On Monday, Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling that had stood since his father was president.

By itself, the move will do nothing unless Congress acts as well.

Two prohibitions on offshore drilling exist - one imposed by Congress and another by executive order signed by the first President Bush in 1990.

The current president, trying to ease market tensions and boost supply, called last month for Congress to lift its prohibition before he did so himself. On Monday, he moved ahead anyway.

"The only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the U.S. Congress," Bush said in a statement in the Rose Garden. "Now the ball is squarely in Congress' court."


Bush criticized Congress for failing to lift its ban on offshore drilling.

"For years, my administration has been calling on Congress to expand domestic oil production," Bush said. "Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal. And now Americans are paying at the pump."


A succession of presidents, including Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, have sided against drilling in these waters, as has Congress each year for 27 years. Their goal has been to protect beaches and coastal states' tourism economies.

Congressional Democrats have rejected the push to lift the drilling moratorium, accusing the president of hoping the U.S. can drill its way out a problem.

Bush says offshore drilling could yield up to 18 billion barrels of oil over time, though it would take years for production to start. Bush also says offshore drilling would take pressure off prices over time.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other lawmakers have backed legislation to allow offshore exploration. Their measure would also pursue other ways to expand energy sources.

"Now the only thing standing between consumers at the pump and the increased American energy they are demanding is the Democrat leadership in Congress," McConnell said. "We should act and act now."

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