Senate passes offshore drilling bill

| 8/2/2006

The Senate passed a measure Tuesday that would open about 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.

The measure also contains a provision to protect Florida’s west coast and directs more than a third of revenue generated from new drilling to Gulf Coast states for restoration.

Congressional Quarterly reported that the bill will now face challenges as lawmakers work to negotiate differences between it and a similar bill passed by the House earlier this year.

The House version would give states control over their coastlines out to 100 miles and would authorize drilling anywhere beyond that.

The House measure already faces some strong opposition. CQ reported that Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, threatened to filibuster if the House tries to change any of the Senate bill.