From the AP via The Columbus Dispatch:
Congress has taken a major step toward allowing oil and gas drilling in coastal waters that have been off limits for a quarter-century.
Still, a battle looms in the Senate over the issue. And the Bush administration's support for the legislation, which was approved Thursday by a 232-187 vote in the House, is lukewarm.
The House bill would end an Outer Continental Shelf drilling moratorium that Congress has renewed every year since 1981. It covers 85 percent of the country's coastal waters - everywhere except the central and western Gulf of Mexico and some areas off Alaska.
In the Senate, the measure is likely to face a filibuster from Florida senators and possibly others from coastal states that fear offshore energy development could threaten multibillion-dollar tourist and recreation businesses if there were a spill.
The Senate is considering a limited measure that would open an area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, known as Lease Area 181, that comes within 100 miles of Florida. It is not under the moratorium. Even that is unlikely to pass unless its sponsors get 60 votes to overcome a filibuster from the Floridians.
Congress needs to open up the entire coast of America, but this is a good first step towards energy independence.
Care to bet the entire kitty on the chances of Mike DeWine doing the right thing?
NOTE: Check out Matt Hurley's earlier post here.