House shows its green side with votes on Interior Department bill

The House of Representatives was on an eco-roll yesterday as it fixed up an Interior Department spending bill to send to the Senate. Over the objections of top Republicans, lawmakers approved 252-165 a measure that would put oil and gas companies on the hook for billions in royalties they’ve dodged since the late ’90s. A provision to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling was shot down 279-141, with many tourism-conscious, coastal-state Republicans voting to keep the ban; lawmakers voted 217-203 to continue a prohibition on offshore natural-gas drilling. The House also voted to halt federal funds for road-building in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, and told the U.S. EPA not to implement a directive that would reduce wetlands protection and not to weaken a program that tracks toxic releases from industrial sources. We take back all the bad things we ever said about you, House.