WASHINGTON (AP) " Coastal states could veto offshore drilling plans under long-awaited legislation to curb global warming to be unveiled Wednesday.
A bill backed by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would allow states to opt out of federal drilling up to 75 miles from their shores " a concession to lawmakers concerned about offshore exploration in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill.
The measure also would allow states directly affected to veto drilling plans of nearby states if they can show that significant negative effects from an accident.
The bill, tweaked in recent days in response to the Gulf spill, requires an Interior Department study to determine whether states could be economically and environmentally affected by a leak.
States that can demonstrate significant negative effects could pass a law opposing a specific project.
States that go ahead with offshore drilling would retain 37.5 percent of the federal revenue generated " a shift from current policy. Now royalty revenue goes to the Treasury; states collect no royalties.
Senators in Western states are likely to oppose the change, saying offshore revenue belongs to the nation as a whole. But coastal states argue that when an accident occurs, they're the ones affected by cleanup costs.
Kerry said stakes for the bill are "sky high," an assessment he said President Barack Obama shared.
The legislation would also aim to cut by 2010 carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels and would set a price on carbon emissions for large polluters such as coal-fired power plants.
The measure faces bleak prospects amid partisan disputes over the drilling provision and other issues.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
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