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HOUSE OKS OFFSHORE DRILLING CURB

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An effort to sharply limit oil drilling off the U.S. coast, spurred by the Exxon Valdez disaster, is headed to the Senate with a strong voice of approval from the House.

The House on Wednesday approved the most extensive ban on offshore oil leasing of the decade, widely expanding prohibitions for one year against drilling off large portions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Alaska coasts."Those people who have allied themselves with the oil industry understand how dramatic a statement this is now," Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said before the vote.

The one-year moratorium was part of the $11 billion Interior Department appropriation bill, which was approved 374-49. There was no separate vote on the oil leasing provision.

The Senate has not voted on the Interior appropriation and several senators plan to introduce similar prohibitions.