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The US Senate shot down a bill designed to expand offshore drilling in Alaska, Virgina, and the Gulf of Mexico. Three separate pro-drilling bills passed the House of Reps last week, and would open up the amount of land available for leasing along the coasts of the US. But with a vote of 42-57, the Senate bill fell well short of the necessary 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster. But that doesn't mean drilling will stop ...After all, Obama has been vocal in his recent support for more drilling. But we can at least be thankful for the moment that no overhauls to the regulatory process have passed -- making oil companies even less accountable in the wake of the biggest offshore disaster in US history would be downright Kafkaesque -- and that there will be no massive expansion of drilling for the time being.
A Senate Republican offshore drilling bill died Wednesday due to opposition from Democrats and criticism from within the GOP that the measure didn't go far enough in enabling new production. It would direct the Interior secretary to conduct previously scheduled offshore lease sales in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Virginia and Alaska. It also extends by one year Gulf of Mexico leases that were suspended when the Obama administration placed a deepwater drilling moratorium last year in the wake of the BP spill.In short, it would have made it easier to drill, forced the opening of more lands for drilling, and forced the administration to take no more than a month to complete environmental reviews to determine if the projects were safe.
It would require the Obama administration to decide within 30 days on offshore drilling permits -- while the Interior Department would be allowed to request two 15-day extensions, if needed, for reviewing some permits. The measure also would limit judicial review of agency approvals of some offshore energy projects.
In other words, we dodged a bullet, big time.
More on Offshore Drilling
Obama Calls for More Offshore Drilling . Again.
House of Reps Passes Bill to Expand Offshore Drilling