Re: Carolyn: The Threat, or Lack Thereof, From Offshore Oil Drilling
- From: Carolyn <momarch27959@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 22:05:12 GMT
I saw in our local paper....
The Threat, or Lack Thereof, From Offshore Oil Drilling
(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. House vote to lift the 25-year old ban on
offshore drilling has prompted praise from pro-business groups, but
scorn from environmental activists who said it places the nation's
coastlines at risk. The Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act would expand
drilling options beyond the Gulf of Mexico, where searching for oil is
already permitted. The bill would allow drilling more than 50 miles
from the coast and gives states the power to allow drilling as close as
three miles from the coast. The bill passed the House 232-187 on
Thursday and must be passed by the Senate before heading to the
president. Full Story
Policy Groups to Congress: Lift Federal Ban on Offshore Energy
feeling pressure over coastal drilling
By William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau Chief
Posted June 20 2006
WASHINGTON · The presence of Chinese oil rigs along the coast of Cuba
and a new attempt in Congress this week to tap the eastern Gulf of
Mexico are putting pressure on Florida to allow American companies to
drill for oil and natural gas near the state's shores.
Drilling advocates unveiled a proposal on Monday that would remove the
federal ban on drilling 100 miles beyond the coast and offer states
financial incentives to allow it closer.
At the same time, some drilling advocates in the House and Senate are
pressing to compete with companies from China, Canada and other
countries to explore off the Cuban coast only 50 miles from Key West.
All this leaves Florida's members of Congress feeling squeezed.
Eager to shelter the state's beaches and tourism industry from
potential spills and pollution, the Florida delegation so far has
preserved a federal ban on offshore drilling that extends far beyond
100 miles. The latest legislative proposal and foreign exploration in
Cuban waters, which are outside U.S. control, have opened up new fronts
in the long-running legislative battle.
Leonard Gropper, a retiree who makes occasional boating excursions to
Cuba from his homes in Fort Lauderdale and Marathon, said he was amazed
to see rigs dotting the island's north coast.
Citing a rising tide of Chinese investment, a dozen senators and a
half-dozen House members are promoting a bill that would create an
exception to the U.S. embargo of Cuba by allowing American companies to
bid to explore energy resources off the island's north coast. The Cuban
government, which has indicated it would welcome American bids, is
forming contracts with companies from China, Canada, Spain and other
European nations to exploit this resource, which is believed to contain
roughly 4 billion to 9 billion barrels of oil.
"China is trying to lock up resources around the world, and they are
locking up resources in our own backyard where we can't even compete
and play ball," said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "This is simply wrong.
I've had enough, and I believe the American people have had enough."
Proponents argue that American companies are more likely to bring high
environmental standards to this work and that the Chinese presence
poses strategic and national security concerns.
Cuban-American members of Congress strongly oppose drilling in Cuban
waters by companies, foreign or American, for fear it would weaken the
embargo and bolster the Fidel Castro regime with oil money. Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, backed by 17 co-sponsors in the House,
introduced a bill that would affirm the embargo while denying travel
visas to representatives of foreign companies, including U.S.
subsidiaries, that invest $1 million or more in Cuba's energy program.
The dispute pits the Cuban-American lobby against the oil lobby.
The oil industry, however, seems primarily interested in using the
Cuban example as an argument for removing the federal ban on offshore
drilling in U.S. waters, especially in the eastern Gulf, where
companies see a big potential resource near existing wells and
Many in Congress relentlessly seek greater access to this resource,
citing high fuel prices and a desire to boost domestic energy supplies.
Gov. Jeb Bush supports the concept of creating a permanent buffer
around Florida and of giving states the option to block drilling within
100 miles, said spokesman Russell Schweiss. The governor and his staff,
however, are still reviewing the Pombo proposal.
Florida Democrats have scorned these negotiations, arguing that the
state must not compromise away its environment. "If Florida's
congressional delegation allows this drilling proposal to pass, one
spill could devastate our economy and spoil our beaches for generations
to come," warned Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, and a candidate for governor.
The result is a somewhat fragmented Florida delegation under pressure
from other members who say it is time for Congress and federal
officials to quit indulging the state's objections to offshore
Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., last week told an administration witness:
"Tell the White House staff that it needs to get its head out of the
William E. Gibson can be reached at wgibson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or
202-824-8256 in Washington.
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