GoM Drilling Plan Advances

Thursday, March 09, 2006
Legislation that would open part of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas exploration easily cleared a Senate committee on March 8, but could face future hurdles placed by coastal lawmakers, MarketWatch reported. The Senate Energy Committee voted 16-5 to approve a proposal to open around 3 million acres in an area known as "Lease Sale 181" to oil and gas drilling. The area is projected to hold as much as 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The plan would maintain a 100-mile buffer zone between exploration activities and the Florida shore. Advocates of expanded drilling contend that high natural gas prices pose a threat to the U.S. economy through higher energy costs, particularly for electricity production. The effort has also drawn the support of farm-state and other lawmakers, who contend that higher natural gas prices are driving up costs of fertilizer and crippling chemical companies that use the fuel in their production processes. (Source: MarketWatch)

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