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 executive deferrals 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. 2361, the House Interior Appropriations bill, extended the longstanding congressional moratorium. However, Representative John Peterson (R-PA) attempted to chip away at coastal protections by offering an amendment that would have lifted the moratorium for natural gas. In fact, natural gas drilling can create massive amounts of water and air pollution and can leave open the possibility of oil spills, which would be
toxic for a wide variety of marine and coastal life.
On May 19, 2005, Peterson’s House Amendment 172 failed by a 157-262 vote (House roll call vote 192). NO is the pro-environment vote.