WASHINGTON -- The House voted yesterday to roll back billions of dollars in oil industry subsidies in what supporters hailed as a new direction in energy policy toward more renewable fuels. Critics said the action would reduce domestic oil production and increase reliance on imports.
The energy legislation was the last of six high-priority issues that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, had pledged to push through during the first 100 hours of Democratic control. The bill passed, 264-163.
The bill's prospects are uncertain in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority. The top Republican on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, said the bill was "another pig in the poke" that targets incentives necessary to promote domestic drilling.
The legislation would impose a "conservation fee" on oil and gas taken from deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico; scrap nearly $6 billion worth of oil industry tax breaks enacted by Congress in recent years; and seek to recoup royalties lost to the government because of an Interior Department error in leases issued in the late 1990s.