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16.10.03

More environmental good news

House Republicans are drafting a proposal that would end the federal ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, while giving states greater say on whether they want energy development in their coastal waters, congressional sources say.

... The Bush administration has said it has no intention of tampering with the OCS moratoria that were first imposed by Congress on a yearly basis in the 1980s, and in 1990 were extended for 10 years by the first President Bush. In 1998, President Clinton extended them again to 2012.


Good onya, George (for now). I suspect that this may be a question of soliarity with Republican governors who oppose oil drilling. Bush's new buddy Arnold Schwarzenegger is opposed to oil drilling in California, and I recall hearing (I can't find a link) that the First Brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, feels similarly. Both those states depend on coastal tourism, which could be threatened by oil drilling. This is in contrast to a state like Texas (which is not affected by the moratorium) or Alaska, which already have well-developed and important oil industries.

On the other hand, the revision makes provision for some states to retain moratoria if they so choose. I wouldn't be surprised if George ultimately takes this federalist sort of view, figuring that Jeb and Arnold don't need the national government's help to shore up their resistance to oil drilling, while letting other states have their oil operations.

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