House panel sends trio of energy bills to floor

Committee Chairman Doc Hastings's (R-Wash.) bill (H.R. 2231) that calls for opening the coasts of South Carolina, Virginia and California to oil-and-gas drilling moved ahead on a 23-18 vote. A similar bill cleared the House last year, but didn't get anywhere in the Senate.

Another Hastings-sponsored bill (H.R. 1964) to speed oil-and-gas lease sales and keep production open in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska got the green light with a 26-14 vote. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who chairs the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee, is a co-sponsor.

And the committee adopted a bill (H.R. 1548) to remove restrictions on energy development on tribal lands, also sponsored by Young, with a 25-15 vote.

The Hastings-sponsored bills are unlikely to gain traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and would likely earn a veto for President Obama since they would roll back administration drilling plans.

The upper chamber has, however, shown some interest in stripping regulations for energy development on tribal lands.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a roundtable last week to discuss legislative proposals on that topic.