WASHINGTON, DC, May 11 -- The House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.) to strike natural gas from exploration and production moratoriums along the Outer Continental Shelf by a 37-25 vote.
Peterson called the vote a first step toward fixing a US energy-supply problem that began when the 1981 appropriations bill contained a provision establishing a moratorium on OCS leasing.
"The burden has now shifted onto those who oppose the safe production of domestic natural gas to explain to the American people why this country should continue to lock up vast reserves of energy while home-grown industries and the American consumer class continue to pay the highest prices in the world," the lawmaker said.
He offered his amendment as the full committee considered appropriations for the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and related federal programs. It modifies existing moratoriums to allow gas activities on the OCS.
The measure does not affect the existing ban on offshore oil exploration and production or repeal presidential withdrawals along much of the OCS, Peterson emphasized.
The Interior appropriations bill must be approved by the appropriations committee before it reaches the House floor.
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