By a 71-25 vote, the Senate just passed S. 3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. Recent procedural votes had foreshadowed the outcome, but still, we think it’s appropriate at this point to say, “Great!”
Support for expanded access to the Outer Continental Shelf’s tremendous energy potential has been building throughout this year’s congressional session. In June, the House passed H.R. 4761, the Deep Ocean Energy Security Act; the Senate followed this evening with its bill to open 8.3 million acres of federal waters in the Gulf to oil and natural gas exploration.
As NAM President John Engler said upon today’s action, “Increasing our domestic energy supply by drilling in the OCS will have an immediate impact on natural gas speculation, as well as provide long-term benefits in the form of affordable and reliable supply and access.” (Read the NAM news release here.)
NAM members have been among the most impassioned and persuasive proponents of the OCS legislation, and we say thanks and congratulations. But there’s more to do. A conference committee should be able to develop even stronger legislation, and the NAM would like to see the final bill go to the President for his signature in September. Manufacturers will keep speaking out during the process, you can be sure.
For now, our sincere thanks go the 71 Senators who cast a vote for America’s energy security, especially the two who led the way: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
UPDATE: Roll Call No. 219 results are available here.