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Offshore Antics Reverses Two Presidents' Pledges

With gas the costliest it's ever been in the U.S., it's hardly a surprise that George W. Bush has oil on his mind. Still, it's important to note that the president's move of support for offshore drilling reverses a trend set by his two closest predecessors — Bill Clinton and his father.

On June 26, 1990, after a period of much public expectation and debate, George Bush senior finally announced his support for a moratorium on the drilling of natural gas. The executive order placed essentially all of the Florida and California coasts off-limits to "oil and gas leasing and development," a step to protect the environment that was extended by Clinton in 1998.

"In a few moments, I will sign a directive to extend the Nation's moratorium on offshore leasing for an additional 10 years, while protecting our marine sanctuaries from drilling forever."

That statement, part of Clinton's remarks to the National Oceans Conference on June 12 of that year, was unsurprisingly met with applause from his Monterey, Calif. audience. Yet while his pledge to extend the moratorium another 10 years was successfully carried out, one can only wonder whether the second part of his promise will fare as well.

With the executive ban revoked, now it's up to Congress.

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This post is one of a series on intriguing, amusing, and memorable moments of the American presidency inspired by the American Presidency Project ( and running until the November election.