Caving to a veto threat by President Bush, House Democrats will not attempt to extend the 26-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling by attaching such an extension to legislation that will fund the US government into March, 2009.
According to the New York Times:
"Eliminating the drilling restrictions will have no immediate consequences since leasing would take place through a long Interior Department process. But it will leave the future of offshore drilling to the next administration."
Responding to the historic shift, Representative David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee said, "That will mean, very frankly, this next election will decide what our drilling policy is going to be."
Given that the moratorium could easily be reinstated by the next administration, it's difficult to say how this will impact the work or Conservation Alliance grantees fighting offshore oil development. It is significant, though, that for the first time in 26 years, Congress appears likely to lift the moratorium.
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