U.S. House to vote on offshore drilling Tuesday
The US House of Representatives will most likely vote today on an energy package that will open a lot of coastline to offshore drilling.
The package proposed by Democrats would give states the option to allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles (80 and 160 km) off their shores. Areas more than 100 miles from the coast would be completely open to oil exploration.
Until recently, Democratic leaders in Congress strongly opposed lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling, saying drilling would have only a small impact on gasoline prices in the immediate future.
But as gasoline prices rose to levels above $4 a gallon this summer, publiilling.
“The choice on the floor today is the status quo that is preferred by Big Oil...or a change for the future to take our country in a new direction,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday.
“Republicans must set aside their drill only mentality and embrace the provisions of this legislation, which is balanced, which is comprehensive, which respects the needs of the consumer, She added.” Conservation groups blasted the House bill, however, for not respecting the environment.
Drilling for oil is still seen as a dirty and unintelligent way to fix the problem of rising gas prices.
Also later this week, the Senate is expected to decide on whether to expand offshore drilling, but not as much as the package currently in the House.
Environmentalists think there must be a better solution, but that remains to be seen.