On July 25, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down H.R. 6168, a bill that would implement the U.S. Department of Interior’s proposed 2012-2017 offshore oil/gas leasing program. Interior’s proposal removed Lease Sale 220, a 2.9-million acre off the coast of Virginia. Following the vote to reject H.R. 6168, the House passed H.R. 6082, which adds Lease Sale 220 and several other areas to the list proposed by Interior. Also on July 25, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the Offshore Petroleum Expansion Now Act of 2012 (S.3438), which would also expand the areas available for oil/gas leasing during 2012-2017 and would include Lease Sale 220. Sen. Murkowski’s bill also would provide 37.5 percent revenue sharing to states with oil/gas production off their coast. Virginia Sens. James Webb and Mark Warner are co-sponsors of Sen. Murkowski’s bill. Information on the bills is available from the Library of Congress’ “Thomas” Web site on congressional action at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php.
Sources: Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Bipartisan Congressional Support of Legislation Replacing President Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/25/12; and Webb, Warner Cosponsor New Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Offshore Leasing, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner News Release, 7/25/12.