clearn.png
Saturday September 21st, 2019 5:13AM

House approves oil drilling ban off Atlantic, Pacific coasts

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House approved legislation Wednesday that would permanently bar drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and extend a moratorium on drilling off Florida's west coast.

Coastal lawmakers from both parties said the bills would protect U.S. coasts from drilling that can pollute crucial waters — and lead to disasters such as the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Opponents, mostly Republicans, said the bills undercut domestic energy security and limit thousands of job opportunities.

Lawmakers approved the Atlantic and Pacific measure 238-189, while the bill to block drilling in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida was approved 248-180. The bills head to the Republican-controlled Senate, where action is unlikely.

The votes come as the Trump administration is reevaluating a plan to sharply expand offshore drilling amid a series of court challenges.

Republican and Democratic governors and lawmakers from coastal states strongly oppose expanded drilling. A federal judge in March ruled against President Donald Trump's executive order to open the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic to broader oil and gas development, saying Trump had exceeded his authority.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has called the legal challenges "discombobulating" to the administration's plans and said officials are likely to wait for the court cases to be resolved before proceeding with offshore drilling.

Even so, lawmakers who oppose drilling said a legislative fix is needed.

"If we don't act, drilling rigs could soon appear off our beaches," said Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., the lead sponsor of the bicoastal drilling ban. Cunningham won his seat last year in part because of his opposition to drilling off South Carolina's beach-dominated coast.

"The Low Country (near Charleston, S.C.) is a force to be reckoned with, and we stand firm in our opposition to drilling off our shoreline," Cunningham said. Offshore drilling could ruin the state's tourism-based economy, "ruin our vibrant natural resources" and harm the state's "unique way of life," he said.

"Drilling off the coast of Florida would create an industrial coastline less appealing to visitors, hinder our military readiness and adversely affect our environment," said Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., co-sponsor of the Florida bill, which extends a moratorium set to expire in 2022.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, denounced the "liberal legislation aimed at derailing our domestic energy production and strong economy." The House-passed bill would stifle development of the nation's abundant fossil-fuel resources, increase reliance on foreign countries and "jeopardize unprecedented economic growth seen in recent years," Bishop said.

Bishop and other Republicans touted an alternative bill that would boost drilling on federal lands and offshore.

The GOP bill "is for all energy, all of the above, both fossil fuel and alternative, one that actually will grow our economy, create more jobs and give a logical standard of what we should do," Bishop said.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said offshore drilling would devastate his state's "beautiful beaches, our workforce and our economy," adding, "I'll fight any effort to pollute our coasts with drilling."

Offshore drilling would harm New Jersey's booming tourism and fishing industries, Pascrell said, adding that it also could have a devastating impact on climate change. "As yet another report today makes clear, the earth is getting hotter. We need solutions, not more drilling," he said.

Tim Charters, vice president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said the twin House votes Wednesday "should be recognized as what they are: the opening salvo of the so-called Green New Deal." Bills to block drilling "are not about limiting emissions or protecting the environment," he said. "They are about normalizing a shortsighted vision of an America where affordable and reliable energy resources are locked away indefinitely."

But Alex Taurel of the League of Conservation Voters said the votes were "further proof that protecting coastal economies from President Trump's plans to radically expand offshore drilling is not a partisan issue — it's common sense."

The question now, Taurel added, is whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow votes on the bills "or will he continue to operate the Senate as a legislative graveyard and leave states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Maine at risk of offshore drilling?"

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Potency of Wisconsin THC cartridges may be higher than claim
Wisconsin authorities say an operation that manufactured thousands of vaping cartridges may have been packing them with far more THC oil than the packaging claimed
5:43PM ( 10 minutes ago )
5 people stabbed in Tallahassee, suspect in custody
Authorities in Florida's capital say a man ordered to leave a construction-supply business after quarreling with co-workers returned minutes later and stabbed five people
5:42PM ( 12 minutes ago )
On 9/11, Trump consoles victims, has tough words for Taliban
A somber President Donald Trump observed the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Wednesday as the dark cloud of the unrelenting war in Afghanistan looms especially large
5:40PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Senators blast Trump judicial nominee for silence at hearing
Senators from both parties have criticized a federal appeals court judge nominee for declining to answer questions about his work in the Trump White House and Education Department
5:06PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Government plans to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes
The federal government will act to ban thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes, a move by President Donald Trump in response to a recent surge in underage vaping that's alarmed parents, politicians and health authorities nationwide.
5:00PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Bill giving protections to Uber drivers, others moves ahead
California lawmakers have sent the governor a bill that would give new wage and benefit protections to workers at so-called gig economy companies such as Uber and Lyft
4:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
NCAA urges California governor not to sign 'fair pay' bill
NCAA's Board of Governors urges Gov. Gavin Newsom not to sign California bill that would allow college athletes to receive money for their names, likenesses or images
2:51PM ( 3 hours ago )
White House lawyer, nominated as judge, stays mum at hearing
A White House lawyer nominated to be a federal appeals court judge is declining to answer questions from senators about his work in the Trump White House and Education Department
2:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
Canada's Trudeau begins reelection bid ahead of Oct. 21 vote
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has launched his reelection campaign ahead of a close Oct. 21 vote
12:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Google advertising practices targeted in antitrust probe
State attorneys general investigating whether Google is engaged in monopolistic behavior are planning to take a deep look into the tech giant's advertising business
5:08PM ( 46 minutes ago )
US stocks notch solid gains as China eases trade tensions
Stocks notched broad gains on Wall Street Wednesday as investors drew encouragement from China's move to exempt some U.S. products from a recent round of tariffs
4:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Proposal would buy bus tickets for Seattle-area homeless
As the Seattle area tries to tackle its homelessness crisis, an official wants to expand a strategy of buying long-distance bus tickets for people living on the streets
4:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Europe eyes stimulus plan, but ultra-low rates raise doubts
Europe eyes stimulus plan, but can central banks help when rates are already low?
2:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
US stocks move higher as China eases trade tensions
Stocks are rising broadly on Wall Street in afternoon trading as investors welcome China's move to exempt some U.S. products from a recent round of tariffs
1:39PM ( 4 hours ago )
As Europe eyes economic stimulus, Trump says why not US?
The European Central Bank appears to be preparing a new shot of stimulus to prop up the economy, amid broader questions about whether central banks like the ECB and the U.S. Federal Reserve can re-energize global growth on their own.
10:47AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Democrats step on shaky political ground with fracking bans
Several Democratic presidential candidates are running on a promise to ban fracking and stepping on unstable political ground as they do so
12:41AM ( 17 hours ago )
Dems question Trump official on lands, Native Americans
Congressional Democrats are questioning a Trump administration official's commitment to public lands and his attitude toward Native Americans
7:43PM ( 22 hours ago )
FEMA officials, contractor accused of hurricane relief fraud
Federal authorities have arrested former officials of the Federal Emergency Management Authority and the former president of a major disaster relief contractor, accusing them of bribery and fraud as the territory struggled to recover from Hurricane Maria
5:22PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Potency of Wisconsin THC cartridges may be higher than claim
Wisconsin authorities say an operation that manufactured thousands of vaping cartridges may have been packing them with far more THC oil than the packaging claimed
5:43PM ( 11 minutes ago )
5 people stabbed in Tallahassee, suspect in custody
Authorities in Florida's capital say a man ordered to leave a construction-supply business after quarreling with co-workers returned minutes later and stabbed five people
5:42PM ( 12 minutes ago )
On 9/11, Trump consoles victims, has tough words for Taliban
A somber President Donald Trump observed the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Wednesday as the dark cloud of the unrelenting war in Afghanistan looms especially large
5:40PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Chinese businesswoman guilty in Mar-a-Lago trespassing case
Jurors have convicted a Chinese businesswoman of trespassing at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club and lying to Secret Service agents
5:30PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Tentative opioids settlement falls short of nationwide deal
Roughly half the states and some 2,000 local governments have agreed to a tentative deal with Purdue Pharma, but the agreement announced Wednesday falls short of the national settlement the OxyContin maker had sought
5:29PM ( 25 minutes ago )