Florida Senator Pronounces Oil-Inventory Rider Dead

A spending rider that would require a seismic inventory of eastern Gulf of Mexico oil and gas reserves is headed for the junkyard, according to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

The inventory was adopted in the Senate Appropriations Committee as an amendment when the panel marked up its fiscal 2008 Energy and Water spending legislation (E&E Daily, June 29). But Nelson in an interview yesterday guaranteed its removal.

"It will be stricken," said Nelson. Asked if there was an agreement to ensure its removal, he replied, "Basically, yes."

"For the bill to go forward, I think the leadership realized they have to get it out of the bill," he added.

Florida's senators do not want drilling closer to the coastline of their state. Critics of the provision in question fear it would be a precursor to further loosening eastern Gulf drilling bans.

Nelson and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) have said they would use their "senatorial rights" to block the provision. A Nelson spokesman last month said he would filibuster over the issue.

Floor time for the bill has not yet been scheduled.

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