WATCHING GOVERNMENT: An OCS plunge in the House

Conventional wisdom says coastal property owners still have enough political muscle to scuttle any Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity in the Lower 48 states outside the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico.So what was Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.) thinking on May 19 when he proposed amending the Department of Interior appropriations bill to lift OCS leasing moratoriums involving natural gas?“Oil is a problem. But the crisis is natural gas,” he told me by phone the following week. “The problem is availability. Eight-five percent of the [offshore] land is locked up.”The higher price is adding to American unemployment, he continued. “Fertilizer, petroche...

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