Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 29-24 to approve the five-year $260 billion American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act.
The bill has to clear one more committee before being forwarded to the House floor for consideration. The House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday to vote on the revenue portions of the transportation bill.
Ways and Means will consider a proposal to allocate any revenue derived from oil and gas exploration or production to the Highway Trust Fund. The bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday.
The bill would require the Obama administration to move forward with virtually all offshore or onshore drilling permits, including areas in the Gulf and the Atlantic coast off Virginia where the administration had delayed or cancelled leases. It also calls for development of production from oil sands.
The most controversial part of the plan is opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Already two Republican senators, James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have expressed their concerns.
Inhofe is a ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and co-author of MAP-21, the Senate’s two-year, $109 billion transportation bill.
Murkowski is a ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. While she advocates opening ANWR to drilling, Reuters reported Thursday that attaching the requirement to the transportation bill would make it too difficult to pass.
Contact R.G. Edmonson at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobinWash.