Congressmember Lois Capps has blasted a Republican effort to link passage of a massive federal transportation spending bill to opening up federal waters off the coast to new oil drilling. Republicans claim the sale of new leases will help defray some of the costs of the new transportation expenses, but Capps claims that the lease sales will fall dramatically short in bridging that revenue gap.
In addition, Capps took exception to language in the measure that would eliminate California’s legal authority to review and regulate new oil development taking place in federal waters off the state’s coast. Republicans have also argued that new lease sales are necessary for the United States to gain a greater degree of energy independence and help bring the down the rising cost of gas. Capps noted that oil companies have yet to develop dozens of offshore oil tracts they’ve already purchased.