House approves measures banning drilling off Atlantic and Pacific coasts

The House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday that would ban drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Florida measure, which was approved by a vote of 248-180, extends a moratorium on drilling that will expire in 2022. The bills now head to the Senate, where it’s unlikely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will allow any votes on the measures.

Earlier this year, a judge ruled against President Trump’s executive order that would have opened the Arctic up to more oil and gas development; soon after, the Trump administration said it was reevaluating its plan to expand offshore drilling. In coastal states, lawmakers on both side of the aisle oppose expanded drilling, with Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), a co-sponsor of the Florida bill, saying that drilling off the coast of his state “would create an industrial coastline less appealing to visitors, hinder our military readiness, and adversely affects our environment.”

One adamant opponent of both bills is GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, who represents landlocked Utah. He called the measures “liberal legislation aimed at derailing our domestic energy production and strong economy,” and said a Republican bill that would involve more drilling offshore and on federal land “will grow our economy, create more jobs, and give a logical standard of what we should do.” Catherine Garcia

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