U.S. House passes two bills to ban new offshore drilling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills banning new offshore oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Florida and was set to vote on a third banning drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. The first bill, sponsored by Representative Francis Rooney, a conservative Florida Republican who supports action to tackle climate change, would permanently ban oil and gas leasing in parts of the Gulf of Mexico close to his state’s coast. The measure passed 248 to 180, with the support of about 20 Republicans. Rooney said a series of spills from oil and gas operations in the gulf have threatened jobs in marine recreation and fishing. The bills were not expected to gain traction in the Republican-led Senate. But the votes in the Democratic-led House of Representatives were meant to send a signal to Republicans who have supported rollbacks of environmental regulations on oil and gas. Republican President Donald Trump has called for opening up oil and gas production and reversed or weakened regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations and carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Democratic lawmakers also hoped to gain momentum on climate issues as… continue reading

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