House of Reps Passes Bill to Expand Offshore Drilling


Photo credit: eschipul via Flickr/CC BY-SA

Just weeks after the 1-year anniversary of the BP Gulf spill, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would force the US government to offer more offshore drilling leases to oil companies. All but two Republicans voted for the bill, and 33 Democrats voted in favor as well. As I've taken to saying, it's like the BP spill never happened at all ... If it had, after all, how could policymakers justify pursuing an agenda like this: (via the Hill)

House Republicans passed legislation Thursday that would require the U.S. government to offer up offshore areas for oil and gas leasing, part of a wide-ranging GOP effort to expand domestic energy production ... The bill is the first in a three-part legislative push by House Republicans on drilling. Two related drilling bills are expected to come up for a vote on the House floor next week.

The legislation, authored by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), would set a deadline for holding delayed Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales. It would also mandate the sale of leases off the Virginia coast, a plan the administration nixed after last year's Gulf oil spill.

Yup. With rising gas prices, Republicans had a window to falsely claim that a lack of offshore drilling was to blame. And since the oil industry is one of the GOP's favorite and most generous benefactors, it made sense to strike while the iron was hot.

What really depresses me about this, though, is the complete lack of political capital generated by the catastrophic oil spill. The backlash against oil companies was so meager, the environmental community's response so muted, that it hardly moved the needle at all -- the GOP didn't have to worry for a second that they'd be demonized for supporting pro-oil expansion, anti-regulatory measures just one year after the biggest environmental disaster in recent memory.

That's not just the GOP's fault. That's all of our fault.

Get the skinny on the GOP's push to expand drilling here.

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Tags: Congress | Gulf Oil Spill | Oil | Oil Spill | United States

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