Members of Congress say they have a good chance to end a drilling ban that was enacted a quarter-century ago on most of the country's offshore waters.
They hope that states will be enticed by (B) billions of dollars in potential oil and gas royalties into allowing offshore drilling.
The House plans to consider today legislation ending the drilling ban. That's six weeks after a measure fell just short of approval that would have allowed natural gas development in all coastal waters.
This bill would keep the ban in place within 50 miles of shore and allow states to continue the federal drilling moratorium up to 100 miles off shore if they act to do so every five years.
The bill's authors also would revamp the revenue sharing agreement with the states, so they potentially would reap (B) billions in future oil and gas royalties if they accepted drilling.
But the issue remains a politically sensitive one. In the Senate, Florida's two senators have vowed to filibuster any legislation that would end the moratorium.
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