The Washington Times - March 31, 2010, 11:20AM

President Barack Obama announced today his administration would pursue to expand offshore drilling (Reuters):

President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday he will stick with a Bush-era plan to drill oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia but will not pursue energy development in waters off the U.S. Northeast and the West Coast that were recently opened to drilling.

Obama, who wants Congress to move a stalled climate change bill, has sought to reach out to Republicans by signaling he is open to allowing offshore drilling, providing coastlines are protected. Allowing offshore drilling also would create jobs and reduce U.S. long-term dependence on foreign oil.

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GOP leadership is not buying the president’s plan, though. Congressman Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, said in a statement today:

“This Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs overseas at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.”

“As usual the devil is in the details.  Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases and claim you’re going to increase production.”

“The President’s announcement today is a smokescreen.  It will almost certainly delay any new offshore exploration until at least 2012 and include only a fraction of the offshore resources that the previous Administration included in its plan. 

“Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the President’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate.  At the end of the day this Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs oversees at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.”