Geez, the federal government sure has made the last year so tough for struggling oil companies to get new offshore drilling leases. And if there's one sector that needs a helping hand these days, well, it's oil. But thanks to House Republicans those dark days will soon be over! Yesterday a bill was passed — creatively titled the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act — by a vote of 266-to-149 to bring back offshore drilling auctions, which had been shelved in order to make sure safety and environmental concerns were addressed — a long, drawn out mess that was probably pretty annoying for oil companies.
The House bill that was approved on Thursday sets specific deadlines for lease sales in the gulf and off the Virginia coast and deems existing environmental reviews for the tracts to be adequate. The Obama administration has said it would make those areas available for drilling only after new environmental impact statements are prepared and certain safety measures adopted by the industry.