The perils associated with oil and gas development along the country’s outer continental shelf prompted Congress in 1982 to create the first offshore oil and gas drilling moratorium. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush instituted a separate set of protections on new coastal drilling, which President Bill Clinton extended through 2012, protecting large and sensitive areas off the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf coasts.
H.R. 5386, the Interior-Environment Appropriations bill, included language that would have repealed the longstanding congressional moratorium and permitted drilling as close as three miles away from some of America’s most pristine coastlines and vibrant coastal communities. Representatives Adam Putnam (R-FL), Lois Capps (D-CA), Jim Davis (D-FL) and Mark Foley (R-FL) offered an amendment to keep the moratorium in place. On May 18, 2006, House Amendment 856 was approved by a 217-203 vote (House roll call vote 170). YES is the pro-environment vote.
Representative Bobby Jindal (R-LA) later introduced H.R. 4761, the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, which would permit oil and gas drilling within 100 miles and give states the option to allow drilling as close as three to seven miles off their coasts. On June 29, 2006, the House approved the bill by a 232-187 vote (House roll call vote 356). NO is the pro-environment vote. At press time, the Jindal bill had not been reconciled with Senate legislation.