Republicans eye alternate drilling bill

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans have said they will settle for a more modest offshore drilling bill after Democratic victories effectively killed a previous plan.

U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., said he would push more a smaller measure that allows for a small amount of offshore exploration, similar to a bill passed by the U.S. Senate, The New York Times reported Monday.


"I don't want to end up having no progress," said Peterson, a strong advocate of off-shore drilling. "Something is better than nothing."

"With Nancy Pelosi as speaker it will be difficult to talk about producing in the outer continental shelf," he told the newspaper.

The bill passed by the Senate allows for 8.3 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to be opened for bidding by gas and oil drilling companies. The waters are thought to contain 5.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.3 billion barrels of crude oil.

"I would hope that the House could appreciate what is possible and try to help move forward for the American people," the Times report quotes John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil, as saying. "Let's get a bill cleared that the president can sign."


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