WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – House lawmakers are moving to ban offshore drilling. But it’s facing an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, and beyond.
South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham has been working on banning offshore drilling for much of his political career.
He says’ the issue is personal.
“I take my son and my four-legged mutt Teddy to the beach on the weekends and let Teddy run around and I play with my son Boone on the beach and that’s an experience you can’t really put a price tag on,” Rep. Cuuningham (D-SC) said.
That’s why he pushed for the passage of the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act which would permanently ban oil and gas leasing in the ocean off both east and west coasts.
Cunnigham’s bill is one of several bills aimed to stop President Trumps’ plan to expand offshore oil and gas development.
Florida Rep. Kathy Castor’s “Securing Florida’s Coastline Act” would permanently extend the Eastern Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium -that’s up in 2022.
These lawmakers believe the bills will protect America’s tourism and fishing industries, but some manufacturing, trade, and labor groups- say the bills will damage the US economy.
Tim Charters is with the National Ocean Industries Association–one of 23 organizations that signed a letter urging lawmakers to vote against these bills calling it a ‘national security issue.’
“This is a critical piece of our domestic energy infrastructure,” Charters said. ‘We are disarming ourselves in the face of a world that is exponentially expanding its need for energy security and energy competitiveness.”
These House bills face an uphill battle here in the Republican-controlled Senate and from President Trump who promises to veto them.