WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Home of Representatives on Wednesday handed a invoice to ban offshore oil and gasoline drilling off Florida, the primary of three measures it’s contemplating, which might additionally ban drilling off the Pacific coast and in Alaska’s Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Reserve.
FILE PHOTO: Unused oil rigs sit within the Gulf of Mexico close to Port Fourchon, Louisiana August 11, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Celano/File Photograph
The primary invoice, sponsored by Consultant Francis Rooney, a conservative Florida Republican who helps motion to sort out local weather change, would completely ban oil and gasoline leasing in elements of the Gulf of Mexico near his state’s coast.
The measure handed 248 to 180, with the assist of about 20 Republicans. Rooney mentioned a sequence of spills from oil and gasoline operations within the gulf have threatened jobs in marine recreation and fishing.
The payments weren’t anticipated to achieve traction within the Republican-led Senate. However the votes within the Democratic-led Home of Representatives had been meant to ship a sign to Republicans who’ve supported rollbacks of environmental rules on oil and gasoline.
Republican President Donald Trump has known as for opening up oil and gasoline manufacturing and reversed or weakened rules on methane emissions from oil and gasoline operations and carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.
Democratic lawmakers additionally hoped to achieve momentum on local weather points as Democratic hopefuls within the 2020 presidential marketing campaign tout their local weather change plans, a lot of which search to reverse a few of Trump’s power insurance policies.
Representatives had been additionally slated to vote on a measure sponsored by Consultant Joe Cunningham, a South Carolina Democrat, to completely ban oil and gasoline leasing off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
“This invoice acknowledges that if we don’t act, drilling rigs may quickly seem off of our seashores,” mentioned Cunningham, whose state’s seashores are a significant vacationer draw.
Oil and gasoline pursuits opposed the payments, saying that bans solely improve U.S. dependency on international oil.
“Congress ought to reject these payments, which might solely outsource power manufacturing to international locations like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and as a substitute get up American power produced with American values,” Tim Charters, a vp on the Nationwide Ocean Industries Affiliation, mentioned earlier than the Home started voting on the measures.
The Home was anticipated to vote on Thursday on a invoice sponsored by Consultant Jared Huffman, a California Democrat, to cease the Trump administration from opening the Alaska’s Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling.
Conservationists contemplate ANWR to be one of many final pristine locations left on Earth. It’s house to wildlife populations together with caribou, polar bears and hundreds of thousands of birds that migrate to 6 of the seven continents.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; enhancing by Jonathan Oatis