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With President George W. Bush calling yesterday for Congress to scrap a 27-year-old ban on most offshore drilling, congressional debate has raged over what effect the move would have on the rising cost of fuel. Republicans have a simple economic argument (increase supply and prices will drop), while Democrats counter that there are millions of acres of land currently open for drilling but going unused.

"There is absolutely no need to talk about opening up ANWR or more parts of the Outer Continental Shelf when there are 68 million acres of less environmentally-sensitive land just waiting to be drilled," Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) said yesterday.

In the midst of the debate, The New York Times weighed in today with a pointed observation:

The Energy Information Administration says that even if both coasts were opened, prices would not begin to drop until 2030. The only real beneficiaries will be the oil companies that are trying to lock up every last acre of public land before their friends in power — Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney — exit the political stage.

Spencer wrote this morning that no-bid contracts for the major Western oil companies to tap into Iraq’s reserves represent the real Bush Doctrine. It seems the creed isn’t limited to foreign policy.

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