U.S. President Obama to open Alaska petroleum reserve to new drilling

U.S. President Obama to open Alaska petroleum reserve to new drilling. 44340.jpegU.S. President Barack Obama said he is directing his administration to take steps to encourage domestic oil production because of the high price of gasoline's effect on consumers.

"Without a doubt, one of the biggest burdens over the last few months has been the price of gasoline," Obama said in his weekly address on the radio and Internet. "And while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense."

Obama said the government will begin conducting annual lease sales for oil drilling in Alaska, make faster evaluations of oil and gas resources in the Atlantic Ocean, and create new incentives to encourage oil companies to develop unused leases, Bloomberg reports.

It was at least a partial concession to his critics, who say he has shackled domestic energy development at a time when consumers are paying near-record prices at the gas pump. The Republican-led House passed three bills in the last 10 days that would significantly expand and accelerate oil development in the United States, saying the administration was driving up gas prices and preventing job creation with anti-drilling policies.

Administration officials said the president's announcement was designed in part to answer these arguments, signal flexibility and demonstrate Mr. Obama's commitment to reducing oil imports by boosting domestic production. But in fact the policies announced Saturday would not have an immediate effect on supply or prices, nor would they quickly open any new areas to drilling, according to a report in The New York Times.


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