Coleman favors more domestic oil drillingby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is calling for more drilling and exploration in the U.S. to boost oil production.
St. Paul, Minn. — Coleman said higher energy costs should force members of Congress to lift a ban on drilling in the outer continental shelf and extracting oil from shale.
Coleman said he continues to oppose drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but said increased drilling in other places would produce millions of barrels of oil and more national gas reserves.
"If we have the opportunity to do that in the outer continental shelf, if we can get rid of the moratorium we have on the exploration for oil shale, we don't have to do the ANWR debate," said Coleman.
Coleman told reporters that he'd take a look at drilling in the Great Lakes, which is banned in the U.S. but allowed in Canada.
But a Coleman staffer later clarified that Coleman is unequivocally opposed to drilling in the Great Lakes.
A spokesman for Coleman's Democratic opponent, Al Franken, said Franken is not opposed to increased offshore drilling if it doesn't damage the environment.
Coleman also defended his decision to rent a Washington D.C. apartment from a GOP operative.
The National Journal reported this week that Coleman has been living in the basement of a Washington home owned by a campaign consultant who has done work for Coleman.
The story said Coleman has been paying $600 a month to live in the Capitol Hill townhouse of Jeff Larson, owner of a St. Paul telemarketing firm. Coleman said he moved into the apartment to cut back on expenses.
He said he missed a couple of payments, but later paid the money he owed. Coleman said there is nothing improper about renting from Larson.
"I rent some cramped space from a friend who is a long-term friend who is not a lobbyist, who doesn't, I believe, have government contracts and doesn't talk to me about any of my Senate business," said Coleman. "I have never been lobbied by him, I've never been asked to do a favor to get a piece of business. We have a long-term friendship. He's part of my political team and he has been."
Larson's firm has done work for Coleman's Senate campaign. He is also the chief executive of the Minneapolis-St. Paul 2008 Host Committee, which is organizing the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September.