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California Democrats Introduce Bill to Ban Drilling Off State's Coast

Key Democrats in the California congressional delegation have introduced legislation in the House and Senate to permanently ban oil and natural gas leasing off the state's coastline.

Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein introduced their anti-drilling bill (S. 2294) in the Senate last Thursday, while Democratic Rep. Lois Capps sponsored companion legislation in the House (H. 4782).

"Despite years of bipartisan support for the moratoria on new offshore drilling, recent efforts are threatening our coasts. This bill will finally provide the permanent protection against future drilling that Californians have demanded," Boxer said.

The Boxer-Feinstein-Capps measures come amid a flurry of activity in the second session of the 109th Congress to open up protected offshore waters to exploration and production. Republican proponents have tried for decades to open up portions of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to drilling -- each time failing. But many believe victory may be within reach this year.

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