Congress To Take Up Expanded Offshore Drilling Bill
Returning Tuesday from a five-week break, the Senate Democrats plan to consider a controversial bipartisan energy bill that would expand offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and, perhaps, elsewhere, The Associated Press reported yesterday.
The proposal, which remains in draft form, would lift the drilling ban on the Gulf coast of Florida, while allowing Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas to decide for themselves whether to allow new offshore exploration.
The drilling language is sure to alienate liberal Democrats, while provisions eliminating billions in subsidies to oil companies will likely draw fire from conservative Republicans. For that reason, the upper chamber might spend much of September spinning its wheels. From The AP:
“This is going to be hard to do, we are under no illusion here,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who led the negotiations on the proposal with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. “But we’ve tried to put something together that is responsible and broad-based and bipartisan, and I think it’s got a shot.”
The AP was more realistic: “Its prospects are dim.”