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What N.C.'s congressional delegation is saying

The Charlotte area's Republican members of Congress support President Bush's lifting of the White House ban on offshore oil drilling, while the Democrats either oppose it or didn't take a position. Here's what both sides had to say Monday:

“The solution to our energy crisis is finding more and using less. Families struggling with record high gas prices can't afford for Congress to keep energy exploration options off the table.”

Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

“I'm pleased that the president has lifted the executive order. … Four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline has affected every family in North Carolina, and it is time for the Democrat leadership in Congress to stop blocking action and pass long-term energy legislation.”

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

“It's about time. I'm glad that he's done his part to make our coasts available for off-shore drilling instead of just talking about it. Now it's up to Congress to pass legislation that does the same.”

Rep. Sue Myrick, Charlotte Republican

“The potential environmental impact is one of the major reasons I've been pretty consistently opposed to (drilling). … Everything I've seen suggests that we could drill off the coast … and it would have minimal impact on gasoline prices, and even that impact would be eight to 10 years further out.”

Rep. Mel Watt, Charlotte Democrat

“These are American resources that American taxpayers have a right to see brought to market.”

Rep. Patrick McHenry, Cherryville Republican

“Frankly, I wish he had taken this action sooner. Now the burden is entirely on Congress to take action on this issue, and many people believe there are a majority of votes in the House of Representatives to approve increased production as well.”

Rep. Robin Hayes, Concord Republican

“Increasing our domestic supply of oil will help reduce the cost of gas, signaling America's willingness to develop American-made energy.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx, Banner Elk Republican

“Before passing judgment on a package this important, we need to know the contents and the consequences (of drilling legislation). … I would want to be assured that our priceless coastline is protected.”

– Rep. John Spratt, Democrat from York County, S.C.

Lisa Zagaroli

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