Democratic News

The House today passed a bill (H.R. 4761) that calls for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf; the legislation also has far-reaching implications for onshore public lands as well as the Federal Treasury. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM) is the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee.  Here are his views on H.R. 4761:
 
“Our nation faces serious energy challenges.  I strongly support the goal of increasing U.S. oil and gas production, as long as it is done in an environmentally responsible and fiscally sound way.  But H.R. 4761 contains controversial provisions that would create, in the long-term, a huge hole in our Federal budget and undermine environmental protections on our lands and off our coasts.  Even the President opposes the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue that is contained in the bill -- and he is right to do so.  By contrast, Senate Energy Committee has reported a bipartisan bill (S. 2253) that will increase production without any of these negative consequences.
 
“There is very little time left this year to pass energy legislation of any type.  We are only likely to succeed if we avoid provisions that will weaken environmental standards or, as the Administration has indicated, will compromise the long-term fiscal integrity of the government.”
 
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