Senators introduce bills to increase offshore drilling

A group of senators introduced a trio of bills Tuesday to open up more areas of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic to offshore oil drilling and to provide more oil revenue for states.

Sen. Bill Cassidy's (R-La.) legislation would allow offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico in 2017 and require the federal government to hold leasing sales for drilling sites there in the years following. The bill would also raise the cap on oil revenue Gulf states can take in.

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A bill from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) would require leasing sales in three areas off the coast of Alaska and allow for revenue sharing for state and local governments.

Sens. Mark WarnerMark WarnerNo time to relax: A digital security commission for the next generation Army posthumously awards female veteran who served as WWII spy The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Va.) and Tim ScottTim ScottGOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R-S.C.) introduced a bill requiring three leasing sales in the Atlantic Ocean between 2017 and 2022, and establishing a revenue sharing program between East Coast states and the federal government.

The bills come one day after the Obama administration signed off on a Royal Dutch Shell plan to drill in Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. But 87 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf remains off-limits for oil and gas drilling, according to Cassidy's office.

Earlier this year, the Interior Department released a proposal to consider drilling in the Atlantic for the first time in decades, but restrict it to only three areas in the Arctic and maintain a ban on drilling in the Eastern Gulf. 

Congressional Republicans have said the plan is too restrictive, and have called on the Obama administration to open up even more of the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling.