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US House to vote on Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling bill

[JURIST] Republicans in the US House of Representatives agreed Friday to vote on a compromise offshore drilling bill [S 3711 text; CRS summary] on Tuesday under special rules that limit amendments and generally speed up proceedings, but require a two-thirds majority for approval. If passed, the bill would allow oil and gas drilling in about 8.3 million acres of federal waters in the eastern-central Gulf and boost federal royalty shares from two percent to 37.5 percent in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Environmental leaders, however, oppose the measure, especially in light of the GOP's pending loss of majority rule.

The Senate passed the compromise bill [JURIST report], 71-25, in August, limiting offshore expansion to the Gulf of Mexico. The bill passed by the House [JURIST report] in June, the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act [HR 4761 text, PDF], would have ended the offshore drilling moratorium on 85 percent of the coastal waters surrounding the US. AP has more.

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