October 26, 2005

Offshore gulf drilling debate redux

On Wednesday (today), the House Resources Committee is scheduled to consider a deal that would open vast areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas exploration in return for other protections.
The deal is the product of months of negotiations among House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., Gov. Jeb Bush and several Florida members of the U.S. House, but how much support it ultimately would have remains uncertain. Offshore gulf drilling debate redux
Florida politicians for years have fought offshore drilling to protect estuaries and beaches critical to the state's ecology and tourism industry from pollution and spills.

Both of Florida's U.S. senators, Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Bill Nelson, and the state's House Democrats are opposed to the Pombo plan, preferring to seek renewal of the more restrictive moratoriums. The state's Republican House members have been split.

"We all understand that America must find new sources of energy, but drilling off Florida's sensitive coast won't solve the nation's current energy challenges," U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, said in a statement opposing the Pombo legislation. Jeb! supports new bill to drill
In a letter published today in the Lakeland Ledger, Senator Bill Nelson stated:
There is relatively little oil in the eastern gulf. Drilling will make no difference in prices or foreign oil dependency. I believe there are ways of solving these problems without placing our economy and environment in danger.

Raising the required fuel efficiency standards for cars by nine miles per gallon would save the United States about a fourth of all the oil we import -- significantly decreasing our dependency. Practical alternative-fuel technology exists as well. Ethanol, nuclear power plants, and gas made from coal offer attractive alternatives to drilling.

Consider that the United States has only about 3 percent of all the world's oil reserves, meaning there's no way to drill our way out of this crisis. Instead, we must conserve energy and develop alternative fuels -- while continuing to protect Florida's strong economy, unique environmental resources and unmatched military-training sites by stopping proposals to expand drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Lakeland Ledger

No comments: