Gulf of Mexico open for exploration

August 2, 2006

coffeeThe Senate voted 71-25 last night to back legislation that would open an 8.3-million-acre patch in the Gulf to exploration. Florida is not included.

The House passed legislation in June that would do away with a 25-year-old moratorium on most drilling in federal waters along the nation’s east and west coasts, giving individual states more authority to set limits on exploration. TheHouse & Senate will have to have conference committee to reconcile differences.

The Senate bill would allow Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to reap 37.5% of royalties from the new lease sale beginning in 2017.

Republican leaders cut a deal last month with coastal lawmakers, including Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., that guaranteed the measure would keep drilling rigs well off the Florida coast.

RO Note: According to the Sierra Club, the area to be open for exploration only has 47 days worth of oil and four months worth of natural gas.Sierra Club flyer pdf

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