In journalism, they say if neither side is happy with your story, you've probably got it right. The same may be true in politics.
Nancy Pelosi's offshore oil bill -- it includes more provisions than just offshore oil drilling, but that's the centerpiece and attention-getter -- passed the House late Tuesday. It represented an about-face for Democrats, who have long opposed lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling that left much of the U.S. coast off-limits to oil and gas companies.
Under this proposed law (which still needs approval by the Senate and President Bush -- neither a sure thing) oil companies could have at any oil more than 100 miles from shore. If states approve, they could also drill as close as 50 miles from shore.
Republicans said it wouldn't really allow for more drilling, because the bill doesn't give states a share of the royalty revenue.
Environmentalists were divided on the bill's merits. They generally condemned the provisions on offshore oil drilling and exploration of oil shale in the West, but praised its attempts to boost renewable energy investments. For instance, the law would renew renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits that most experts see as key not only to helping household bottom lines by helping families cut energy expenses, but also for fostering the renewable energy technology the country needs to ween itself off foreign oil and fossil fuels.
"America needs real solutions to our energy crisis: investments in renewable and alternative energy, cars that go farther on a gallon of gasoline, and energy efficiency that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels," reads an Environment America statement. "The House energy bill includes many, much needed solutions to change the direction of our nations energy policy. Most laudable is the bills inclusion of a renewable energy standard, incentives for both clean energy and plug-in hybrids, and efficient building codes. However the bill also contains harmful and wrong-headed drilling proposals. Thus Environment America applauds the leaderships effort to change our energy course but opposes this specific bill."
Now, it's on to the Senate.
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