US Congress votes for some offshore oil relaxations
Bush wants more, threatens veto
The US Congress has voted to end America's ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the face of rising petrol prices. However the White House is resisting the Democrats' energy package, saying it will stifle the oil industry.
Reuters reports that the Democrat-controlled lower house passed the proposed measures by 236 votes to 189 yesterday. The bill would allow state governments to permit drilling between 50 and 100 miles from their coasts, with seas further offshore being completely opened.
Meanwhile, as the House vote comes in, a differing plan is going before the Senate. The draft Senate law also loosens drilling prohibitions, but not as much as the Congressional one. The two bills would be combined into one compromise document before going to the White House for signature into law, if the upper house approves and sufficient time remains in the Washington calendar.
The Democrats had until recently been totally opposed to lifting the long-standing US moratorium on offshore fossil exploitation, but shifting voter sentiment in America following recent escalation in fuel prices has changed their minds. Now the party has decided to back some drilling relaxation, but as part of a wider package of measures - some of which are hotly opposed by the White House and elements of the Republican party.
"This legislation is a result of reasonable compromise," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. "[It] will put us on a path to energy independence by expanding domestic supply."
However President Bush begged to differ.
"At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development," said a White House statement. It's thought that the eventual combo bill may face a presidential veto should it move forward successfully.
Many in the oil industry contend that the inshore limit of 50 miles will bar drilling in many of the most promising continental shelf areas. They are also unhappy with the lack of any incentive - in the form of profit-sharing provisions - for state governments to issue permits, fearing that this may mean that none are issued in some areas.
Green groups were also predictably outraged by the plans, saying that a total ban should have remained in place. ®
re: Matt Bryant
You're binding yourself too tightly to the neo-con oilman ideal.
Remember, you don't have a RIGHT to profit, just to liberty and happiness.
You are so blinded by the Goracle visions you seem to forget that the economy of the Western world depends on oil - in fact, it's needed by all the world's economies. I suspect even you have a need for it, even if you don't realise it. So, you advocate making it harder for oil companies to extract oil and make a profit? Which of course means they will charge more for oil, making it harder on all of us (you included). Because the simple truth is we can't become non-oil economies overnight (especially not the US) because Greenpecker idiots like yourself just don't want us to have any viable means of energy generation - especially nucleur - because your own fantasies don't allow for reasoned scientific debate of development. Maybe you're just a masochist, but I and many others (and that probably includes the majority of US voters) will want that extra oil, and couldn't give a damn if it means mroe profits for oil companies if it means they can live easier. And more oil profits means more tax money into the US coffers - winenrs all round, except for you masochists.
re: offshore relaxation
The reserves are not even a years' consumption, so the price of oil worldwide will be unaffected by the drilling offfshore.
So what's the difference between 97% of bugger all and 3% of bugger all?
Now add in that people in the US are pissed off at offshore windfarms (spoil the landscape don'tchaknow), why is a freaking oil platform (and pipe and anceillaries and the clean up) OK?
Because the oil industry makes money from it?
If you don't work for them, that shouldn't make a difference.
Remember, you do have your own sunlight, wind and waves to produce power if you want.