Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pelosi & US House Democrats Block US Offshore Drilling for Oil! McCain Calls for End to Prohibited US Energy

By H. Josef Herbert
House Democrats failed Tuesday to resurrect a bill to punish price gouging at the gas pump, while maneuvering to block Republican attempts to expand offshore drilling, an idea gaining in popularity amid $4-a-gallon gas prices.

Action on legislation that would assure continuation of the ban on oil and natural gas drilling in most of the country's coastal waters was put off until later this summer after it became increasingly clear that Republican lawmakers may have the votes to lift the drilling moratorium.

As Democrats prepared a string of energy proposals before lawmakers depart for the July 4 holiday recess, Republicans charged that they were being blocked from getting a vote on whether to end the ban on offshore oil and gas drilling.

Last week GOP presidential candidate John McCain as well as President Bush called for ending the blanket prohibition on energy development over 80 percent of the country's offshore waters. Republicans contend that the offshore bans should be ended to allow for more domestic oil and gas production, an argument that has gained support with $130-a-barrel oil raising the cost of everything from food to air travel.

The House Appropriations Committee has postponed consideration of an Interior Department spending bill that included continuation of the offshore drilling ban. Republicans had prepared a proposal that would have ended the ban and allowed oil and gas development 50 miles from shore in all U.S. coastal waters.

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