John M Broder
May 14, 2011
President Obama, facing voter anger over high gasoline prices and complaints from Republicans and business leaders that his policies are restricting the development of domestic energy resources, announced on Saturday that he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.
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.