Virginia Sen. John McCain said Monday the federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling should be lifted, and individual states given the right to pursue energy exploration in waters near their coasts.
With gasoline prices rising and the United States chronically dependent on foreign oil, the Republican presidential contender said his proposal would "be very helpful in the short term resolving our energy crisis."
McCain also suggested giving the states incentives, including a greater share of royalties paid by companies that drill for oil, as an incentive to permit exploration.
Asked how far offshore states should be given control of drilling rights, he said that was a matter for negotiation.
He offered no other details for his proposal, which he is expected to describe more fully today in an energy speech.
McCain's presidential rival, Sen. Barack Obama, opposes an end to the moratorium, a spokesman said.