Senate Set To Vote on Gulf Drilling Bill

Oil Drilling Station

The bill is a compromise worked out by members of the Senate over the summer after they balked at a House bill that would force open more of the Gulf to oil rigs.

GOP leaders decided to send the measure to the Senate floor before the party's majority rule in Congress runs out in January. The bill would allow new oil and natural gas development in more than eight million acres of federally-controlled waters in the eastern-central Gulf of Mexico.

Supporters saying it would help ease tight markets - particularly for natural gas. And both of Florida's Senators back the move, saying it would keep drilling platforms at least 250 miles from Tampa Bay.

But opponents - including Tampa Congressman Jim Davis - say it doesn't do enough to promote the use of alternative energy sources. A letter drafted by Davis and signed by two other Congressmen from South Florda urges their colleagues not to support the bill.

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