U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole supports lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling.
In a statement released Wednesday, Dole said she supports allowing oil exploration off the North Carolina coast, which has been prohibited for 27 years.
"Now, more than ever, responsible and practical steps are needed to increase our energy independence and strengthen economic and national security," she said.
She said it should be an option as long as exploration is safe, clean and not visible from land. She plans to sign onto a Republican measure allowing states to open areas at east 50 miles off their shorelines to exploration.
The position is a reversal for Dole, who has supported the ban for years, saying it was necessary to protect tourism and marine habitat, but she said the United States must now work to end its dependence on foreign oil. (AP)