President Bush will use his Saturday radio address to up the pressure on congressional Democrats to open up the coast to offshore drilling.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto, speaking aboard Air Force One on a fundraising trip to Naples, (see posting below) said Bush will reiterate his call for Congress to lift its ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and along the Outer Continental Shelf, along with asking them to remove a block on oil shale leasing and expand US refining capacity.
A tidbit from the radio address: "If congressional leaders leave for the 4th of July recess without taking action they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act."
Dems contend Bush's plan (which he's pictured here announcing) would do nothing to lower gas prices, but could imperil the environment.
Fratto contends that a "number of members of Congress are probably rethinking the policy on the Outer Continental Shelf and ANWR... especially as they go home and they hear from the constitutents in their districts."
"Americans are increasingly concerned," he said. "I think if you'd asked Americans two, three or four years ago what their views on drilling in certain areas, it probably wasn't as popular then either. It is now, because I think most Americans understand the common sense that if prices are rising rapidly and supply is short, and we are finding ourselves dependent on foreign and maybe unreliable sources of energy, then what we ought to be doing is trying to increase that output here at home, especially if we know there are sources of oil and other forms of energy here."