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 CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE'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 Robert WarnerUS prosecutors bring new charges against China's Huawei Lawmakers grill Census Bureau officials after report on cybersecurity issues Senate GOP blocks three election security bills MORE (D-Va.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Sunday shows preview: Top tier 2020 Democrats make their case before New Hampshire primary Democrat gives standing ovation to Trump comments on opportunity zones 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.