2001 Scorecard Vote
In early 2001, the Bush administration appeared poised to move forward with a controversial oil and gas leasing program off the east coast of the Gulf of Mexico, known as Lease Sale 181. Environmentalists, however, contended that even the routine pollution associated with offshore drilling--not to mention the threat of a deep-water oil spill--could do irreparable damage to Florida's unique and fragile coastline, the vacation and recreation destination for millions of Americans.
After the House voted overwhelmingly to prohibit oil and gas leasing off Florida's coast (House vote 5), the Interior Department proposed canceling a large part of Lease Sale 181 while still allowing some new leases in the eastern Gulf that may encroach on sensitive shorelines. The plan would offer new oil and gas leases in a 1.47-million-acre area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico--scaled back from the 6-million-acre area originally proposed. During consideration of H.R. 2217, the Fiscal Year 2002 Interior Appropriations bill, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) offered an amendment--identical to the House-approved amendment--that would have prevented any part of Lease Sale 181 from going forward. Acting on a motion by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the Senate, on July 12, 2001, voted to table (or kill) the Nelson amendment by a 67-33 vote (Senate roll call vote 231). NO is the pro-environment vote.
The House-approved amendment was later stripped from the Energy and Water appropriations bill in conference. The House and Senate approved the conference report on November 1, and President Bush signed it on November 12. Thus the president's compromise plan, which allows some drilling in the eastern Gulf, will go forward.