Looks like extreme times call for extreme actions! The House Democrats have voted to allowed the offshore drilling ban expire. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey said that that a $600 billion stopgap funding bill slated for a House vote on Wednesday will not include any language on drilling. This will effectively lift the ban on October 1. Let me commend the House for taking this historic first step. Of course, the Senate needs to approve it was well, but this is at least some very good news. It's a shame that it took an extreme situation like $150 oil for people to realize we depend too much on foreign energy supplies. But before prices exploded in 2003, people really did take for granted that we were the only major buyer of oil in the world, and that our suppliers were all rational, reasonable people. But once others started dipping their beaks into the world oil supply, it was only a matter of time before many anti-American oil producing countries, who begrudgingly sold us fuel at our desired rates because they had no other choice, decided to stick it to us. Those are things we can't control. But what we could control was decades of lax incentive to go out and seek new reserves. As long as oil was cheap, Iran and Iraq were keeping their mouths shut and the death of the Soviet Union meant the world was going to be a perfect place, no one thought there would be any negative actions that could affect worldwide oil and gas supplies. But reality slapped us in the fact this year, and I'll take any national volte-face that comes. So, we've got the juice, we've got the political backing, we've got the momentum. Let's keep the gravy train rolling and get those offshore blocks producing. It won't solve all of our problems, but at the very least we won't be subject to extreme market swings as we've found ourselves to be this year. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; spayne@hartenergy.com