WASHINGTON (AP/THE BLAZE) — The Republican-controlled House has easily passed the last of three bills to expedite and expand oil and gas drilling. While these bills promise to create jobs and expedite oil production, both the Senate and the White House stand in opposition.
In a 243-179 vote Thursday, the House passed a measure that would open up areas off the West and East coasts, Alaska and the eastern Gulf of Mexico to drilling. The Obama administration pulled back on leasing in some of those spots after the Gulf oil spill last year to further evaluate the environmental consequences. It never considered drilling in the Pacific. FOX News has more:
Republicans say that the bill, along with [the] two other drilling measures passed earlier this month, would create 1.2 million jobs and lower the price of oil. The Congressional Budget Office says that the offshore lease sales would generate $800 million in revenue over ten years.
The bill directs the Interior Department to select lease areas based on how much oil and gas they contain. The measure joins two others passed earlier by the House to speed up drilling and leasing.
President Obama has a complicated history when it comes to domestic oil procurement. While Obama originally supported expanding oil and gas exploration, the Gulf oil disaster changed his course:
In March 2010, Obama sounded like he wanted to expand the plan with more oil and gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. But he left out the Northeast and West coast to appease political supporters opposed to drilling. The policy included expanded drilling in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico.
The president then changed his mind about those plans after the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and a six-month moratorium was instituted in the Atlantic and eastern Gulf areas — set to expire Nov. 30, 2010.
With all three bills unlikely to pass the Senate, they will probably fall legislatively flat. That said, their proposal and passage in the House is a significant development in the energy independence dialogue.