Murkowski, Wyden weigh path forward for US-Mexico drilling agreement

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a lead sponsor of the House version of the bill, said it could come to the House floor next week, according to a report Wednesday in Environment and Energy Daily.

But there's a huge difference between the bills.

The Senate bill does not contain a House provision that exempts oil companies operating under the pact from controversial Dodd-Frank rules that force energy producers to disclose their payments to foreign governments.

“We are kind of looking at it and saying, ‘that is a provision that really doesn’t need to be in the bill,’ ” Murkowski said.

Click here for much more about the House version of the bill to implement the U.S.-Mexico pact.

The 2012 agreement the Obama administration reached with Mexico, which has support from Republicans, is aimed at fostering oil-and-gas development along a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Mexico.

Murkowski said she wants to learn from House lawmakers whether the exemption from the Dodd-Frank rules is a “must have” for them, or instead a “nice to have.”

House Republicans and oil industry representatives say the Dodd-Frank disclosure exemption is needed to prevent a collision with confidentiality provisions in the U.S.-Mexico accord.

But backers of the Dodd-Frank rules dispute the claims and have expressed concern that the House provision is part of a wider effort to scuttle the regulation.