WASHINGTON (AP) -- Siding with Florida's Republican governor against his brother, the House voted to delay a Bush administration effort to open part of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas exploration.
The House also voted to block a Bush administration plan to pursue new oil, gas and coal development in national monuments.
Both amendments were attached to an $18.9 billion Interior spending bill for fiscal 2002, which passed Thursday on a 376-32 vote and moves next to the Senate.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has repeatedly urged President Bush's administration not to proceed with plans to extend offshore oil and gas drilling to a tract that comes as close as 17 miles to Pensacola in the Florida panhandle. Yet the White House was working hard to generate opposition to any delay in leases, including calls to some of Florida's Republican lawmakers.
The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Jim Davis, D-Fla., and Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., would prevent the Interior Department from signing final lease agreements in the tract, known as Lease Sale 181, until April 1, 2002. The delay, they said, would give opponents time to work out an agreement.
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