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New Mexico’s Sen. Pete Domenici, on opening up coastlines to oil and gas drilling:

“I will, in due course, argue for opening more and more and more and more,” Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Monday. “That’s how I see it happening. I think this is the first giant step toward breaking the precedent (against drilling) and getting us started.”

The story had the gist of the bill:

The Senate is poised as soon as today to approve oil and gas drilling across 8.3 million acres of federal waters off the coast of Florida, an effort supporters say will set America on a new course of producing more domestic energy.

But the bill, critics and supporters agree, also is the first step toward dismantling the federal moratorium that for a quarter century has protected the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from offshore drilling.