Senate’s Sale 181 bill ignites wider OCS leasing debate

Advocates and opponents of federal oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf Sale 181 area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico squared off Feb. 16 before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.Lawmakers and witnesses discussed S. 2253, which would direct Sec. of the Interior Gale A. Norton to begin the leasing process, with specific restrictions, in the Sale 181 area within a year of its passage.Florida’s two US senators and Gov. Jeb Bush oppose the US Minerals Management Service’s 2007-12 draft OCS plan because they believe Sale 181 oil and gas activity would take place too close to the state’s gulf coast.But the discussion soon moved to potential impli...

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