Senate Okays Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Or, “Back to Drill, Drill, Drill…”

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The U.S. Senate just passed a bill opening up 8.3 million acres of Gulf of Mexico coastline to oil and natural gas drilling, ending a ban against offshore drilling.

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This, of course, may be just the first step toward dismantling the federal moratorium protecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from drilling, which is precisely what a much more sweeping House bill, pushed by ocean enemy No. 1 Richard Pombo (pictured), would do.

Said Richard Charter, co-chairman of the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, of the bill: “This is death by a thousand cuts for coastal protections nationwide. The senators who support this bill have made it clear that while this is as much as they can open now, they ultimately want to open much more of the coast to drilling. So the question really becomes: How much happens this year … and how much might be left for next year?”

Environmental groups and some Democrats say, reasonably, that opening coastal waters to drilling only feeds US demand for fossil fuel. As Sen. Harry Reid put it, “The Democratic caucus is very clear that there will be no more offshore drilling. This is it. Don’t go back to the drill, drill, drill theory.” Which is weird; but you get the idea.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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