P.M. BRIEFING : Lujan Assailed on Offshore Drilling

From Times wire service s

California's two senators and 16 members of its House delegation criticized Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr. today for supporting offshore oil drilling, saying he should resign as head of a presidential task force studying the issue.

"Secretary Lujan is responsible for overseeing the preparation of an objective report on offshore oil drilling," said Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez). "But recent comments indicate he has already decided to proceed with offshore oil drilling. Out of fairness, he must step down."

Lujan told the Western Governors Conference this week that the one-year ban on offshore oil leasing approved by the House July 12 was a "dangerous" course that would increase U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

Miller, who chairs the House Interior subcommittee on water, power and offshore energy resources, was joined by Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston and 15 other members of the California delegation in sending a telegram to Lujan. Republican Sen. Pete Wilson sent a separate telegram with basically the same message.

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