Thursday, June 26, 2014

House GOP Votes to Expand Drilling on Federal Lands. Which 10 Dems Joined Them?

Today, the House passed the deceptively named “Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act,” a bill that expands offshore drilling on federal lands but would not actually address the problem of high gasoline prices.

Among other things, the bill would do the following:

•    Direct the Interior Department to develop a new five-year offshore leasing plan that makes available for oil and gas exploration and development at least 50% of the unleased coastal areas with the most potential for energy production.

•    Require said plan to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal under the Administration’s current 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing plan of 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027 (which is triple current production levels).

•    Require that drilling be allowed off the coasts of California, South Carolina, and Virginia, and statutorily reorganizes the Interior Department agencies that oversee offshore leasing and permitting, safety inspections and revenue collection.

•    Require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lease at least 25% of lands nominated by the oil and gas industry and to automatically approve any permit which has not been formally decided upon within 60 days.

•    Direct federal land managers to manage lands for the primary purpose of energy and mineral production, making all other uses, like hunting, fishing, camping, grazing, and conservation, secondary.

The bill passed 229 to 185.

219 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted for it. 179 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted against it.

Here are those 10 oil-loving Democrats:

John Barrow (GA-12)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Jim Costa (CA-16)  
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)

And here are the 6 Republicans who voted no:

Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Jon Runyan (NJ-03)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)

There were roll call votes for 7 amendments. I will highlight two of them.

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) offered an amendment to require companies holding leases which allow them to drill on public lands off-shore without paying a royalty to renegotiate those leases prior to bidding on new leases issued pursuant to Title I of the Act.

It failed 179 to 229. 174 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted for it. 217 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted against it.

The five Republican supporters were Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Chris Gibson (NY-19), Walter Jones (NC-03), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), and Chris Smith (NJ-04).

Here are the 12 Democrats:

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Jim Costa (CA-16)  
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

Pete DeFazio (OR-04) offered an amendment to authorize $10 million of the revenue generated by the underlying bill for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use existing authority to limit speculation in energy markets. If House Republicans claim that the bill was intended to lower gas prices, clearly they would support this.

Surprising no one, they did not. The amendment failed 189 to 223.

4 Republicans voted for it: Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Chris Gibson (NY-19), and Walter Jones (NC-03).

Two Democrats opposed it: Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Jim Matheson (UT-04).

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