30 November 2006 19:02 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Democrats could be more willing than many think to work toward alleviating high energy costs by opening more US offshore areas to oil and gas development, a Forbes magazine editor told a gathering of chemical industry representatives on Thursday.
Expanding drilling for oil and natural gas in federal waters - something the chemical industry heavily supports - might not be a lost cause just because Democrats have taken control of the US Congress, said Matthew Swibel, an associate editor for the business magazine’s ?xml:namespace>
US chemicals manufacturers are almost wholly dependent on natural gas for feedstock.
In fact, said Swibel, gains also made by Democrats in state legislatures could lead additional states, such as Florida and Virginia, to support more coastal waters energy development as a way to boost state revenue with royalties paid by energy copmanies drilling off their shores.
Democrats also could regain the role of defenders of states' rights as they gain power at that level, he said.
The presidential race in 2008 could also affect how the new majority party legislates, he said.
Oil and gas drilling off the US east and west coasts has been banned under a 25-year-old congressional moratorium. Both houses of Congress passed bills earlier this year to open more of the
Supporters of expanding offshore drilling have pushed for a compromise to ensure some legislation is passed before control of Congress is handed to Democrats in January.
Swibel spoke as part of a panel discussion on energy sponsored by the American Chemistry Council and the Texas Chemical Council.
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