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What's in the House offshore-drilling bill?

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AP Photo/Ric Francis

(Read caption) An offshore drilling rig is visible in the background as beachgoers attend the US Open of Surfing, July 20, 2008, in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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The House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday night that would relax the federal ban on offshore drilling and try to expand renewable energy.

The bill, which was adopted by a vote of 236 to 189, was backed by Democrats, who long fought the lifting of the 26-year ban but have been under intense political pressure to look as though they are taking steps to ease high gas prices. Republicans, whose vociferous calls for expanded offshore drilling have been met with widespread public approval, opposed the bill, claiming that it did not offer enough financial incentives to coastal states. On the final roll call, 221 Democrats and 15 Republicans voted for the bill; 176 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted against it.

The 290-page Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act, as the bill is known, contains a number of important provisions. Here's a breakdown:

Allows drilling between 50 and 100 miles from a state's coastline, if the state approves it. Areas beyond 100 miles from the coast would be completely open to drilling. This map, taken from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's website shows what it would look like.

According to the Associated Press, Republicans opposing the bill cite data from the Interior Department that estimate that 88 percent of the recoverable oil lies within the closed 50-mile zone. Republicans also argue that there is little incentive for states to permit drilling off their shores. They want a revenue-sharing plan, such as that enjoyed by Louisiana. Democrats counter that such a plan would be too expensive.


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