The House Friday passed legislation that would open more federal waters to oil and natural gas exploration and production, but the bill has next to no chance of advancing in the Senate and being signed into law by President Obama.
The measure (H.R. 2231) cleared the House by 235-186, with the vote primarily breaking down along party lines. It calls for the Obama administration to open heretofore closed areas, such as the West and East Coasts, to energy production by requiring the administration to submit a new leasing plan by 2015, which is two years before the existing plan expires.
“If the president were presented with H.R. 2231, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. “The administration strongly opposes H.R. 2231.”
The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which approved the bill earlier this month (see Daily GPI, June 13).
The bill requires that the new leasing plan, and subsequent five-year offshore leasing plans, include lease sales in areas containing the greatest known oil and gas reserves. Areas with the greatest known reserves are estimated to contain 2.5 billion bbl of oil and 7.5 Tcf of gas. It proposes leases off the coast of Virginia, earlier canceled by the Obama administration; off the coast of South Carolina; and off the coast of California using existing offshore infrastructure or onshore extended-reach drilling. Both Virginia and South Carolina are in favor of developing the Outer Continental Shelf off their coasts, according to congressional officials representing the states.
The legislation also proposes 37.5% revenue-sharing for other coastal states with energy production off their shores. Currently only the Gulf Coast states receive 37.5% of the revenue from new leases, with the remainder going to the U.S. Treasury.
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