The Republicans blocked passed of H.R. 6251 yesterday by a vote of 223-195. The measure required a 2/3 vote to pass. Oil and gas companies hold leases on 68 million acres of federal land that they are not developing. This bill would have forced them to either begin producing or give up their leases. It also would have prevented them from obtaining new leases unless they can show that they are either producing or diligently developing the leases they already hold.
Coal companies are required to show that they are diligently developing their leases, but oil and gas companies are not held to the same standards and have been allowed to stockpile leases, without producing any oil or gas.
"On Tuesday, we tried to pass H.R. 6346 to prevent some forms of price gouging by oil companies," said Rep. Grace F. Napolitano. "But by sitting on leases that could produce 4.8 million barrels a day while simultaneously demanding states open our coasts to more drilling, the oil companies and the Bush administration are just engaging in another kind of gouging."
Rep. Napolitano is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.