The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee – chaired by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – has struck a House-passed provision in the Build Back Better Act to ban all future off-shore drilling off the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coasts, a source close to Manchin confirmed to CNN.
The bill text from Manchin’s committee is not public yet. Politico first reported the Senate changes to the bill.
Manchin is also planning to raise onshore drilling royalty rates for the US federal oil and gas leasing program to 16.7% from 12.5%, slightly lower than the 18.75% rate in the House version of the bill, the source said. He is raising offshore drilling royalty rates to no less than 14%, which is in line with the House bill.
Another person familiar with negotiations stressed that negotiations on the committee’s provisions are ongoing.
“The legislative text is not yet final, and conversations will be ongoing about the ultimate inclusion of provisions with it,” the source told CNN.
Raising royalty rates for the federal oil and gas leasing program was a recommendation the US Department of Interior made in its review of the program last month.
Two Democratic House members strongly criticized the move to strike the House-passed offshore drilling ban, saying they’d fight to keep it in the final bill.
“The families and small business owners I represent on the Southern California coast have made it clear they strongly oppose more offshore drilling along our coast,” said Rep. Mike Levin, a Democrat representing a California district impacted by an offshore oil spill earlier this year.
“Local leaders of both parties oppose new drilling, and I will continue to fight for my community’s priorities by pushing for the inclusion of a ban on new offshore drilling activity in the Build Back Better Act.”
Rep. Kathy Castor, the Florida Democrat who’s the chair of the House select committee on the climate crisis, also pushed to keep the ban, saying in a statement, “I urge my colleagues in the Senate from both sides of the aisle to restore the House-passed permanent ban on unnecessary and harmful offshore drilling. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to reconsider.”