Offshore drilling bill goes too far

Last week Congress voted to lift a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in coastal waters.

It’s now up to the Senate to reject this move and, at the least, maintain the status quo that’s been in effect since 1981.

Fuel prices may be punishing now, but that’s no excuse to open up areas within sight of our Coast to offshore drilling.

A bill passed Thursday in the House that would allow offshore oil and gas drilling within 50 miles of the Coast as a state option. The bill provides a powerful incentives for states to allow drilling from three to 12 miles of the shore. Under the formula, the state royalty would rise to 75 percent for close-to-shore drilling. That’s just too much bait in the water for state governments, which might dismiss all other factors to fatten the treasury.