WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- The equivalent of 14 years' worth of oil is available on U.S. public land already designated for drilling, congressional Democrats said Wednesday.
"You simply cannot drill your way to lower prices," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., responding to President George Bush's call for Congress to allow drilling on the outer continental shelf and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The House Natural Resources Committee chairman said 81 percent of estimated oil and gas resources on federal lands federal waters are -- or will be -- accessible pending land-use or environmental reviews.
The amount of oil produced from the areas represents "14 years of current U.S. consumption" and the amount of gas represents more than 30 years, Rahall said.
"Sixty-eight million acres of federals lands both onshore and underlying federal waters offshore in the OCS are currently being held by oil and gas companies with no production occurring on these leases," Rahall said. "The production of these energy resources would provide our country with additional time to develop alternatives to oil and gas and reduce our dependence on energy imports or foreign dictators."
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said Bush presented "some of the oldest ideas ... for destroying the most pristine wilderness and shoreline in the United States."
"After eight years, President Bush and Dick Cheney have turned the GOP into the 'Gas and Oil Party,'" Markey said.