3/17/2005

Mel Martinez and the ANWR Vote

This must be complete BS. Martinez can't REALLY believe the Bush Mafia would keep their word. But according to the Orlando Sentinel:
U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez said he voted to allow oil production in an Alaskan wildlife refuge today only after getting a promise from the Bush administration to extend a moratorium on drilling off Florida's shores for five more years, through 2012. A National Wildlife Federation official called that concession "crumbs" because it offers no assurance of a long-term or permanent ban on natural gas and oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Environmentalists say the petroleum industry and congressional supporters see the vote for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, as a step toward opening areas offshore from Florida and other coastal states. "It's not at all clear that Sen. Martinez got anything that wouldn't have occurred anyway in the short term," said Adam Kolton, the National Wildlife Federation's director for congressional affairs. "He got crumbs, frankly." Kolton pointed out President Bush made a campaign promise not to allow drilling off Florida and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, remains a staunch opponent. The governor, however, will be out of office after next year and the president after 2008. Interior Secretary Gale Norton promised the moratorium extension in a letter to Martinez. She also wrote that the administration will continue a policy of not offering new leases within 100 miles of Florida in the eastern gulf even if they would be outside the moratorium areas. Kolton also questioned whether Martinez will have any better luck passing a permanent offshore drilling ban than other lawmakers who have tried before and failed. "Is the administration going to support that bill?" Kolton asked. "Is (Rep.) Tom DeLay going to support that bill?"

Didn't matter to Mel that most Floridians oppose ANWR drilling. Many of us know that opening ANWR is essentially a symbolic move: Win the battle over the most contentious piece of oil-related geography and you've opened the door to raping and pillaging other unspoiled areas.
I'm sure the oil rigs off the Gulf Coast will look beautiful to the tourists.

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