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Offshore drilling gets boost from House

Offshore drilling gets fast-track approval mechanism in House-passed bill. But Senate and White House oppose the measure.

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In this July 22, 2010 file picture, a swell partially obscures the Development Driller II (left) and Development Driller III, which are drilling the relief wells at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. On May 11, 2011, the House passed a bill that would automatically approve offshore drilling permits after 60 days if the federal government does not act on the applications.

Gerald Herbert/AP/File

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The Republican-controlled House has passed another bill putting offshore oil and gas drilling on the fast track.

The latest measure, passed 263-163 on Wednesday, gives the government a maximum of 60 days to decide whether a company can drill. Afterwards, the permit is automatically approved.

There is currently no deadline for the offshore drilling permits.

Republicans fended off efforts by Democrats to boost safety, including recommendations from a presidential panel that investigated the massive Gulf oil spill.

Republicans say the Obama administration has acted slowly to approve drilling permits since the disaster. They note high gas prices require action.

Last week, the House passed a bill forcing lease sales the government had delayed.

Both bills are unlikely to pass the Senate. The White House also opposes the measures.

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