Mounting resistance against President Obama’s seemingly anti-oil agenda, the Republican-led House passed a bill Wednesday that would displace the administration’s new offshore drilling plan. The measure is doomed for failure in the Senate, which has prompted Democrats to blast the attempt as a political maneuver made by disgruntled Republicans who oppose the president’s energy policies.
H.R. 6082 would boost the cap on offshore gas and oil lease sales to 28 for the next five years, an increase from the administration’s proposed 15. The Republican bill effectively broadens more Pacific and Atlantic coastal areas to oil exploration, standing in contrast to Obama’s plan to bar exploration in those regions; the legislation also would fast-track lease sales in Arctic waters off the Alaskan coast.
Additionally, Republicans offered another bill that rejected the administration’s plan, serving as an opportunity to express further discontent over the president’s opposition to new fossil fuel production. The House voted 261-164, stringing along a few Democrats, to scrap the administration’s plan.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, said the GOP-led measure would provide lawmakers with an alternative to Obama’s restrictive oil plan. The White House proposal currently is facing a 60-day congressional review before implementation, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he will sign off on it immediately following the review.
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Photo: Offshore Jack Up Drilling Rig via Shutterstock