House Passes Bill Making It Easier to Drill
In a 266-149 vote that included 33 Democrats in its majority, the House approved a bill that would force the federal government to conduct three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the Virginia coast within a year, or by June 2012. Lease sales are the first step in a multi-year process that can culminate in drilling.
The Obama administration had postponed the sales after the massive Gulf oil spill, saying it needed time to conduct more thorough environmental reviews, to account for the blowout's effects on the Gulf ecosystem and to incorporate lessons learned from the disaster.
A major federal investigation into what caused the accident has yet to be released.
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