WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said calls to drill in protected, sensitive areas is "a hoax" perpetrated by Republicans and the Bush administration.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders unveiled proposals that would address the energy and gas price crisis, and renewed their calls for immediate drilling on nearly 100 million domestic acres already approved for exploration, The Hill reported Thursday. They also urged President George Bush to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
"This call for drilling in areas that are protected is a hoax, it's an absolute hoax on the part of the Republicans and this administration," Pelosi said. "It's a decoy to punt your attention away from the fact that their policies have produced $4-a-gallon gasoline."
Pelosi's position may put her at variance with members of the Democratic Caucus who have been moving toward striking compromises with Republicans on ways to expand domestic energy production.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said expanded offshore drilling is not off the table, and that Democrats will consider whether states should be able to choose to drill off their coasts, as Bush has suggested.