Lawmakers in the House of Representatives unveiled the final version of their proposed energy package this week. The bill gives all states the option to drill between 50 and 100 miles off their shores.
Democrats have softened their position on offshore drilling in the realization that their Republican counterparts weren’t going to let go of the idea; getting anything accomplished would require compromise. That said, House Democrats took their compromise one step further than the “gang of 10” compromise bill on the Senate side, which only opens offshore drilling off the coasts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.
Under the House bill, national marine sanctuaries and monuments will remain off limits, and all oil exploration would have to “protect the coastal environment”.
Other provisions of the bill include:
- Selling 70 million barrels of light crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
- Repealing certain tax breaks for oil companies to fund renewable energy and efficiency tax credits
- Requiring the oil companies develop leases they already hold
- Requiring more frequent lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska
The House is expected to vote on the measure next week, possibly on Tuesday.