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 CassidyTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market 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 WarnerHackers target health care AI amid coronavirus pandemic Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks Senator sounds alarm on cyber threats to internet connectivity during coronavirus crisis MORE (D-Va.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill 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.