September 23, 2008
Congress set to let drilling moratorium expire
According to a report in The Hill (which usually gets these things right) the House and Senate have yielded to a veto threat and agreed to lift a decades-old congressional moratorium on offshore drilling
The ban has typically been included in annual spending bills or continuing resolutions, but this year lawmakers agreed to let it expire on Oct. 1, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) announced Tuesday night, says The Hill.
Obey announced an agreement on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through March 6, that he expects the Senate and White House to agree to.
The Hill says the $600 billion bill will keep fiscal year 2008 funding levels in place until months into the next president's first term. Obey "reluctantly" agreed to include the 2009 military construction bill, the Department of Defense spending bill and the Homeland Security spending bill to ease concerns on both sides of the aisle of not adequately funding the Pentagon.
Obey said he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted the CR to include language on offshore similar to that which the House just passed, replacing the 125-mile moratorium with a 50-mile ban and a 50-to-100-mile "opt-in" provision for individual states.
"The White House made it clear that that was an absolute non-starter," The Hill reports Obey as saying. "So that will mean, quite frankly, that the next administration will determine what the nation's offshore drilling policy is É and, at least temporarily, the moratorium is lifted."
READ THE HILL REPORT