What would the Gang of 20 legislation do?
A growing bipartisan group of senators is promoting the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 as a response to high gas prices this session.
The bill has been endorsed by Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who joined the Gang of (n+1) last week.
Although it is still being refined, the bill aims to reduce U.S. dependence on gasoline and diesel over the next 10 years in favor of alternative fuels, energy efficiency and conservation.
It would also lift a federal moratorium on offshore drilling in the United States.
The bill would open additional areas in the Gulf of Mexico to leasing by oil companies and allow Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to decide whether to permit drilling.
In that sense, the legislation would not necessarily lead to offshore drilling off the Outer Banks, since the state legislature and governor could decide against it.
In addition, it currently calls for a 50-mile buffer, allowing drilling only between 50 and 200 miles off the coast.