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House passes bill to expand offshore drilling

WASHINGTON -- With high gas prices becoming a hot political issue, the House on Thursday passed legislation that would expand offshore energy exploration, even though Congress has yet to pass new drilling safeguards a year after the massive Gulf of Mexico spill.
The Republican-sponsored measure would open the Virginia coast to drilling and expand production in the Gulf of Mexico, but it faces opposition from the White House and long odds against passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Its approval came as gas-pump politics has broken out in the Capitol.
A gusher of bills has been introduced: The Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act would scale back industry tax breaks. The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, Act would permit legal action against the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for conspiring to restrict supplies or drive up prices. Senate Democrats hope to bring a measure to end subsidies for oil companies up in their chamber as early as next week.
Lawmakers from both parties are eager to show they feel the public's pain at the pump - and highlight their party's differences over energy policy - even though there are limits to what they can do to provide immediate relief.
"Last night, I had a telephone town hall with hundreds of my constituents," said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. "The overwhelming concern was the high price of gas."
House approval of the "Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act" comes after the BP oil spill disaster a year ago led the Obama administration to back off plans to open the eastern gulf and portions of the Atlantic Coast to oil and gas exploration.
But with the national average price of gasoline approaching $4 a gallon, the measure passed 266-149 with the support of 233 Republicans and 33 Democrats.
It is the first of three pro-production bills the House Republican majority plans to bring up for a vote before Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer driving season. One bill would require the Interior Department to offer leases, within the next five years, for new drilling off Southern California, Alaska and other areas in the Atlantic. Another would speed permitting for offshore drilling.
Even if it would take years for the oil to reach consumers, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the measure would "send a strong signal to the world markets that the U.S. is serious about producing our resources."
Opponents attacked the measure as a "spill amnesia bill," referring to the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 rig workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons of crude.
Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass, said the bill "represents a return to the pre-spill mentality of speed over safety."
The Obama administration has moved to strengthen drilling safety, but contended the bill would "hastily" open coastal areas to drilling, allowing the oil industry to use environmental reviews conducted before the gulf oil spill. The administration also has moved to issue more permits for gulf drilling, but Republicans complained it hasn't been enough.
The bill seeks to make Virginia the first state on the Eastern Seaboard in decades to open its coast to drilling. The state's Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, endorsed the legislation Thursday at a Richmond, Va. gas station press conference. It would require the Interior Department, within a year of the bill's passage, to conduct a lease sale for drilling 50 miles off the Virginia coast.

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Added: May-5-2011 Occurred On: May-5-2011
By: Zipper10
Other News
Tags: Offshore, drilling, expand, house, passes
Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
Views: 6386 | Comments: 9 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • Good! Keep putting this type legislation in front of the dem controlled Senate and Obama.

    Posted May-5-2011 By 

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  • about frikken' time.

    Posted May-5-2011 By 

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  • I'm sure that there will be some sort of catch to it. like it will be in areas that have no oil, or very hard to get at. If liberals didn't maks such outrageous restrictions there wouldn't have been the spill in the Gulf last year.

    Posted May-5-2011 By 

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  • Fuck that we don't need oil... same shit as always. Who's profiting off of oil? People who keep the money in the richest half of a percent of the population... Go to my profile and view Human Addendum.

    Posted May-5-2011 By 

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    • Comment of user 'Riot_On' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @Riot_On
      I saw .02 a gal & .60 in tax

      Posted May-5-2011 By 

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    • @Riot_On When I said population I meant that of the entire world. The fact is that the fed govt would be irrelevant if there were true equality and monitary influence didn't exist. Humanity so caught up in archaic measurements and made up numbers that sometimes even I forget that resources and labor are the only things that should matter... which by the way if people would embrace mechanization of labor and drop currency all together(which should've been obsolete many years ago anyway) they migh More..

      Posted May-5-2011 By 

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    • Comment of user 'Riot_On' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @Riot_On You really think that way? What socialism are you talking about? True democracy is that in which every single person has a say... Socialism? That's a word that means something entirely good though many idiots have chosen to adopt it for nefarious purposes... and don't get me wrong I'm not defending socialism or w/e the hell you want to call it, I'm defending something better than that. global resource based economy. You want to stamp a name with bad con-notations all over it because you More..

      Posted May-6-2011 By 

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