This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) that would have prohibited oil and gas drilling off the coast of Oregon. This amendment was offered to legislation that would loosen regulations on air pollution caused by oil and gas drilling. In addition, the underlying oil drilling bill would eliminate the Environmental Appeals Board’s authority to review applications for oil drilling leases.
Schrader urged support for his amendment: “This amendment is very simple; it protects 63 miles of fragile Oregon coastline and many of the communities that depend on its health….It respects Oregon State's right to decide what is best for its coast without federal interference. Our Oregon coastal communities depend on the health and natural vitality of the Pacific Ocean. They already face tremendous pressure both in the fishing arena and in our tourism economy…. We respect other States' rights to do what they need to do and suggest what they want.”
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) opposed Schrader’s amendment: “This is once again an attempt to shut off exploration activity in the Pacific. The matter is not to be decided through air permits. It is to be decided when and if lease sales are proposed for those waters. If lease sales are proposed in the future, Oregon's interests and concerns will no doubt be represented by our colleagues who are proposing this amendment, by the opportunities that remain to debate and provide comment…through the leasing process….We have got to get this country into a position where we recognize that it is a good thing for American-produced energy to have opportunities to be developed….The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, H.R. 2021 [the underlying bill], gives this body the chance to say we are going to utilize our resources in a responsible manner.”
The House rejected Schrader’s amendment by a vote of 160-262. Voting “yea” were 156 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 4 Republicans. 230 Republicans and 32 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have prohibited oil and gas drilling off the coast of Oregon. Without a prohibition on such drilling, oil and gas companies were free to apply for permits to drill off Oregon’s coast.