Democrats in Congress are under increasing pressure to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling, The Wall Street Journal reported this week ($ub. req’d).
Last week, some Democrats signaled that they would be willing to endorse offshore drilling. And on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he might allow voting on offshore drilling. “We’re happy to take a look at a number of different approaches,” said Reid. “If we get on to the speculation bill, we’ll take a look at ways to amend that.”
Reid is referring to a bill targeting energy market speculation, which would give more authority to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate the energy futures market. A bill on this passed in the House last month. In the Senate, Republicans are threatening to filibuster if measures to open up new domestic areas for oil drilling aren’t added to the bill.
The WSJ also reports that a bipartisan group of 10 senators is working on energy legislation that might be able to gain the consensus needed to pass.
The pressure on Congress mounted this week when President Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling.