Deep Blue See
Over the objections of lawmakers from coastal states, the U.S. Senate yesterday approved a plan to survey oil and natural gas deposits beneath the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Supporters say the country has the right to know the extent and nature of its energy reserves in case of a crisis. Critics say the plan could open the door to overturning a long-standing ban on new offshore drilling; they were defeated, 54 to 44, in their effort to strip the proposed survey from the Senate version of the energy bill. The legislation would require the Interior Department to report on potential energy reserves beneath the oceans as well as “impediments” to extraction of those reserves. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who opposed the plan, said, “An impediment is something to be removed; that is a hint as to the intention of these studies.” The House defeated a similar measure in its version of the energy bill.