House votes to block offshore drilling across US for one year

A spending bill passed by the House late Thursday would block offshore drilling along most U.S. shores, taking development of all of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off the table.

Passed as part of a bill funding the Department of the Interior, the measure would bar new offshore development through fiscal 2020.

Members on both sides of the aisle have pushed for measures that would limit drilling along their state’s shorelines. The collection of amendments included in the bill limit new development in most coastal waters, including the Florida portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

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“It’s pretty cut and dry where I come from. We don’t want it and we don’t need it,” Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamHouse committee forwards bills to bar offshore drilling across US Key endorsements: A who’s who in early states Ex-congressman launching PAC to defend Dem seats in 2020 MORE (D-S.C.) said at a meeting earlier this week to review offshore drilling bans.

Another portion of the bill would block the seismic testing used to find oil and gas reserves. 

The Trump administration has pushed an energy dominance strategy that includes further offshore drilling, but Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has yet to unveil the department’s five-year offshore drilling plan, citing the uncertainty surrounding an Alaska case that blocks development there.

A number of environmental groups expressed support for the spending bill.

“Today’s vote to block offshore drilling underscores the strength and bipartisanship of opposition to dirty and dangerous offshore drilling,” Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana, a marine protection group, said in a statement.

The spending bill must still be taken up by the Senate.

Earlier this week, a House committee forwarded two stand-alone bills that would also block drilling in most U.S. waters.

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