An energy bill including a partial lifting of the ban on new offshore drilling has passed the House, reports the Washington Post. The vote split largely along party lines, with most Republicans rejecting the package for not going far enough. The measure would allow new drilling beginning at 50 miles offshore and beyond. Opponents say the limit is too far to exploit most known reserves.
The legislation will roll back tax breaks to oil companies and use royalty payments collected from offshore drilling to fund clean energy measures. The bill will now go to the Senate to compete with three alternative proposals. The current drill ban expires at the end of the month when drilling would automatically be allowed as close as three miles offshore if no new legislation is passed.