Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drill Baby, Drill! (Or perhaps not.)

So the long-awaited offshore drilling bill passed the House last night, 236-189. Its fate is unknown in the Senate, but the White House has made it clear that it will likely veto the legislation should it reach President Bush's desk.

The bill allows for drilling 50 miles off the coast-- with the adjacent state's approval-- and 100 miles offshore regardless of the adjacent state's position. As the vote count would suggest, Democrats and Republicans are not even close to being in agreement on this one.

Republicans claim that the mileage requirements in the legislation will put drilling too far away from where the oil actually is, and the bill's failure to share royalties with the adjacent states does away with any incentive for them to approve drilling.

And of course, the 800 lb. gorilla of issues in the bill is tax breaks for oil companies-- Democrats want to eliminate them, Republicans don't.

No telling what the Senate will do, but, as the Wall Street Journal notes:

"If members of Congress and the White House can't agree on a drilling plan, it could lead to a showdown between Democrats and Republicans over legislation needed to keep the government running past Sept. 30, as the drilling ban is part of the expiring bill that funds the government..."