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Efforts to lift drilling ban fail

  |   May 20, 2005 at 9:26 AM
WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Two attempts to allow drilling for oil and gas off Florida's coast have been defeated in Congress, but opponents warned there are more to come.

There is growing pressure to lift the offshore-drilling ban in Florida waters and elsewhere, the St. Petersburg Times reported Friday.

"We have never seen such a high intensity and orchestrated effort," said Mark Ferrulo, director of the Florida Public Interest Research Group. "Every time we turn around there is a new proposal."

There were two on the floor of the U.S. House Thursday. An amendment by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., sought to allow oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico if the net imports of crude oil account for more than two-thirds of U. S. consumption. The percentage is currently at 53.

The measure was determined to be an inappropriate addition to the Interior Department's spending bill.

Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., wanted to amend the spending bill to eliminate the ban on natural gas drilling along the U.S. coast. That proposal was defeated, 262-157.

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