On September 11, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two measures that would prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling along much of the nation’s coastal shores. Primarily supported by Democrats, both bills received bipartisan support, however, some Democrats opposed the legislation. It’s highly unlikely the legislation will receive any action in the U.S. Senate.
The first measure, the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941), would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The bill would prohibit the U.S. Department of the Interior from offering any tracts for oil and gas leasing or preleasing in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf planning area (North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic and the Straits of Florida) or the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf planning area (Washington/Oregon, Northern California, Central California and Southern California).The bill passed the house by a 238 to 189 vote, with five Democrats voting against the measure, and 12 Republicans supporting it.
The second measure passed by the House, the Protecting and Securing Florida's Coastline Act of 2019 (H.R. 205), would permanently extend the moratorium on oil and gas leasing, preleasing and related activities in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico via an amendment to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA). Enacted in 2006, GOMESA includes a moratorium on oil and gas leasing within 125 miles off the Florida coastline in the Eastern Planning Area, and a portion of the Central Planning Area, until 2022.
In addition to the moratorium, GOMESA created oil and gas revenue sharing provisions for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. GOMESA funds are to be used for coastal conservation, restoration and hurricane protection. These provisions are not affected in H.R. 205.
The bill passed the house by a 248 to 180 vote, with five Democrats voting against the measure and 21 Republicans supporting it.
While NACo does not have specific policy on offshore drilling, however, counties support increased domestic oil and gas production and support revenue sharing with states and counties that choose to have oil and gas production off their shores.