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Cardin Opposes New Offshore Oil, Gas Development

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Sen. Ben Cardin says he disagrees with President Barack Obama about opening up new offshore oil and gas development, especially off the mid-Atlantic coast.

Cardin's comments come in response to Obama's call Wednesday for a one-third reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025 to reduce dependence on foreign supplies. Obama's proposal relies in part on incentives for companies that hold leases for offshore and onshore drilling to speed up production.

The Maryland senator says the nation does need a comprehensive energy policy to reduce this dependence, but oil companies hit their highest levels of production since 2003 and millions of acres of leased areas that could be drilled sit idle. He says those lands should be explored and drilled before sensitive environmental areas are put at risk.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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