Energy & Environment

House votes to block US offshore drilling for one year

The House on Thursday adopted a series of amendments that would block offshore drilling along most U.S. shores, taking development of all of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off the table.

The bipartisan amendments to a Department of the Interior spending bill would bar new offshore development for fiscal year 2020, which begins Oct. 1.

Members on both sides of the aisle have pushed for measures that would limit drilling along their state’s shorelines. The collection of amendments included in the spending bill limit new development in most coastal waters, including the Florida portion of the Gulf of Mexico.{mosads}

One of the amendments received support from 25 Republicans.

“It’s pretty cut and dry where I come from. We don’t want it and we don’t need it,” Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) said at a meeting earlier this week to review offshore drilling bans.

Another amendment would block the seismic testing used to find oil and gas reserves.

The Trump administration has pushed an energy strategy that includes further offshore drilling, but Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has yet to unveil the department’s five-year offshore drilling plan, citing the uncertainty surrounding an Alaska case that blocks development there.

A number of environmental groups expressed support for the Democratic-backed spending bill.

“Today’s vote to block offshore drilling underscores the strength and bipartisanship of opposition to dirty and dangerous offshore drilling,” Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana, a marine protection group, said in a statement.

The House is expected to vote on the spending bill before the end of the month. After that, the measure will be sent to the GOP-controlled Senate.

Earlier this week, a House committee forwarded two stand-alone bills that would also block drilling in most U.S. waters.

Updated on Monday at 12:47 p.m.

Tags Joe Cunningham Offshore drilling
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