July 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said today he's lifting a presidential ban on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.
``Today I've taken every step within my power to allow offshore exploration of the OCS,'' Bush said in a statement at the White House. ``This means the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action by the U.S. Congress.''
Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress rejected the president's call, saying the move to end the moratorium would have no effect on prices and better options are available.
Pressure to permit drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has been building as oil and gasoline prices have surged to records.
Congress has barre
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