Coastal Bill MarkUp Halted By Last Minute Offshore Drilling Amendments

By Sheril Kirshenbaum

The night before markup, House republicans add over 180 pages of amendments to the Coastal Zone Management Act Reauthorization.

On the evening of June 10, Republicans added over 180 pages of amendments to a coastal management bill that would expand offshore oil and gas leasing.  Instead of going to markup as scheduled the next day, House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) pulled the bill saying “I would like to avoid having protecting our nation’s coastlines becoming a partisan issue.”

The Coastal Zone Management Act reauthorization is meant to authorize new grants to help states address climate change, renewable energy and working waterfronts along the U.S. coastline. The bill is one of the only ocean legislation pieces with action this year and according to E&E Daily, Democrats said they “did not have time to review the amendments and wanted to avoid a partisan battle.”

Among the many amendments, one from Rep. Henry Brown proposes to add H.R. 6108 to the act which is a bill introduced by Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C) that is nearly identical to legislation from former Resources Chairman Richard Pombo approved last Congress.   The bill would relax bans on offshore oil and gas drilling.  Further, it requires the federal government to share offshore petroleum revenues with states with coastal leasing.

Rahall said he would like to bring the bill back to the committee for a vote “sooner rather than later” by resolving issues with Republicans.


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