After months of heated debates, the House of Representatives has finally made a decision and passed a bill that could potentially open America’s shores to offshore drilling. Also, tax credits for clean energy will be extended and there will be offers for other incentives for the use of green transportation and clean energy. The “Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act” (HR 6889) passed 236 to 189 in a late night vote. The bill will allow drilling to be conducted 100 miles offshore, or 50 miles if approved by the state in question, and also calls for repealing tax breaks for large oil, and utilizing the money to in turn create new credits for energy efficiency programs, clean coal, and electric-hybrid vehicles.
Republicans are upset because the bill was unveiled extremely recently and the opposition had no more than a day to review the legislation and had no opportunity to give an opinion or have any input. The White House and House Reps have said that the bill also prevents vast amounts of offshore drilling because it limits it to only 50 miles off the coast with the input of the state in question, critics of the bill feel that this won’t happen because the bill does not allow the particular state to collect any oil lease royalty revenue, meaning there is no benefit for close drilling.
To anger the Republicans even more, the bill also incorporates a federal renewable portfolio standard which requires 15% of all United States electricity to be generated from renewable resources. Republicans aren’t in agreement with this, due to the fact that it bypasses the states individual right to choose, and is viewed as a form of “big government”.
This bill is nowhere close to actually becoming a law. More than likely, the Senate will debate the energy package later in the week utilizing a bipartisan proposal that will be presented by the “Gang of 20”, that allows for less offshore drilling than the current house bill in question. After a vote in the senate the two houses would then have to meet, and come to a far decision together. There isn’t much time, as Congress will be adjourning on September 26, 2008.