Bush To Congress: Open Coastlines To Exploration Now

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — President Bush is calling on Congress to lift the ban on offshore oil and gas drilling that has been in place for 1981, saying it could eventually yield 18 billion barrels of oil.

The White House characterizes his call as a new position for Bush, who has kept in place a separate executive order that also bars offshore drilling. Bush says that if Congress lifts its ban, he will lift the executive restriction. But he wants Congress to take the step first.

Bush says that with gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, American families are looking to Washington for help.