In a move that pleased environmentalists but irked industry, the U.S. Congress voted yesterday to ban new oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes for two years. The measure, which was part of a $24.6 billion federal energy and water bill, was passed overwhelmingly in both chambers despite President Bush’s recent calls to tap into more domestic energy sources. Under the bill, states would be prohibited from green-lighting new projects while the Army Corps of Engineers studied the environmental impact of drilling Although none of the Great Lakes states allow drilling from rigs on the water, there are currently seven slant wells that pipe oil and gas from under the lakes to the shore; Michigan Gov. John Engler (R), for one, has been looking to expand such drilling.
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