NEW YORK The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would force the Obama administration to develop a five-year oil and gas leasing program and set production targets for the commodities. The 235-186 vote was largely along party lines.
The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act also sets timelines for lease sales of potential oil and gas-producing areas off Virginia, South Carolina and parts of California, and mandates the Interior Secretary to create new positions, including an undersecretary for Energy, Lands and Minerals, and an assistant secretary of Ocean Energy and Safety, according to the bills summary.
The American Iron and Steel Institute applauded the bills passing.
"It is essential that the administration allow the development of additional domestic oil and natural gas resources to help lower energy costs and keep supplies reliable for domestic manufacturers, like the steel industry," president and chief executive officer Thomas Gibson said in a statement, adding that although the domestic steel industry is "the most energy efficient of any major steel-producing country" it is still "negatively impacted by high energy prices."
The bill likely has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate. President Obama has said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
"The administration strongly opposes (the bill, which) would undermine the targeted, science-based, and regionally tailored offshore development strategy that the American people and the States have helped develop," the Office of Management and Budget said, adding that the Presidents senior advisors will recommend a veto.