GOP Plan Would Fine States That Oppose Offshore Drilling

A new Republican proposal would fine states who oppose drilling for oil and gas off their coastal areas.

As , members of the House GOP introduced the bill this week. It will be dissected during a House Natural Resources Committee meeting Thursday.

The legislation calls for the federal government to fine states that request to designate more than 50 percent of drilling lease sites off limits as part of a proposed lease sale. The fine would amount to at least one-tenth of the estimated revenue the government would take in from the lease sale, royalties, and other sources of revenue.

The proposal is actually an amendment to the

"What we want to really convey is that when states out East, like the coastal states, are trying to prohibit development rather than facilitating it, they are not only harming the potential oil and gas development, but they're also harming the rest of the country," Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, told the Post.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., countered that argument by calling the legislation a "ransom."

"This bill is a ransom note in a cheap disguise," Grijalva told the Post. "Penalizing states for protecting their own beaches is what you'd see in a petro-state, not in a modern democracy."

The Trump administration unveiled a proposal in January to , which would reverse a drilling ban instituted by former President Barack Obama shortly before he left office. After much pushback and less than expected interest from oil and gas companies, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told lawmakers in April he