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GOP congressmen back drilling off Outer Banks

By Mary M. Shaffrey

MEDIA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON

A bill supported by four of the seven Republicans in North Carolina’s congressional delegation could open the Outer Banks to natural-gas exploration.

Republican representatives – Virginia Foxx, R-5th, Patrick McHenry, R-10th, Sue Myrick, R-9th, and Charles Taylor, R-11th – are all co-sponsors of legislation that would immediately lift the federal moratorium on natural-gas exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf.

"I think that it is not right for us to ignore natural resources that we have that could reduce energy prices, "Foxx said.

She added not exploring for natural gas would be "irresponsible."

Under the provisions of the bill, which is being sponsored by Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., the state boundary would be extended from three miles to 20 miles. All federal water beyond the 20-mile boundary would immediately be eligible for natural-gas exploration. The bill does not have any provisions for oil drilling.

The bill was first introduced last year, but has drawn more attention in recent weeks because of rising energy costs. The House Resources Committee has pledged to hold hearings soon on various drilling proposals, although a committee spokesman would not comment if the Peterson bill would be among them. (more…)