Drilling bill passes Senate, heads to President [UPDATE]

Dec 11, 2006 | 06:37 AM | Rory Carroll

Steel and other manufacturing associations are celebrating the passage of a bill over the weekend that will allow for increased exploration for oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico.

The language lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling was part of a large tax and trade bill that the Senate passed early Saturday morning. The vote brought to a close the 109th Congress.

The new legislation opens up 8.3 million acres of virgin territory 125 miles offshore and diverts more than a third of federal drilling royalties to Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. The money is slated for wetlands restoration and post-hurricane repair.....

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