House to try again -- opens debate on oil drilling

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has restarted a summerlong debate on expanding oil drilling in Atlantic and Pacific waters that would end a longtime moratorium.

The legislation is expected to be voted on later Tuesday. It would allow drilling 50 miles beyond shore if a state agrees to offshore oil or gas development. Republicans slammed the measure, saying that it would keep off limits nearly 90 percent of offshore oil because it lies within 50 miles of land.

The bill also calls for $18 billion in taxes on the largest oil companies, with the money to be used for tax breaks for alternative energy such as solar, wind and biomass. Democrats called it a balanced bill aimed at shifting priorities from fossil fuels to other energy sources.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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