The Miami Herald reports that at a hearing on rising energy prices yesterday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the prospect was raised of lifting moratoriums on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to ease the supply disruptions from Hurricane Katrina.
Florida's delegation to the U.S. Senate was not pleased:
''It is proper that the federal government help alleviate short-term disruptions and price spikes such as those brought about by Hurricane Katrina,'' Florida Sen. Mel Martinez said in a news release. "Unfortunately, several voices used this opportunity to focus on the prospect of opening the eastern Gulf to offshore drilling. More drilling in the Gulf is not a solution; in this case, it would have done nothing to affect fuel prices."
Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, said the pressure to drill from the petroleum industry and its supporters in Congress was expected and part of a long-standing goal. "They're now seizing on Hurricane Katrina as political cover," McLaughlin said.
Seems like nobody in Florida thinks this is a good idea. The Herald reports that "twenty-one of Florida's 25 members of Congress, meanwhile, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton urging her to maintain the drilling moratoriums." Meanwhile here's what the Orlando Sentinnel had to say:
No sooner had Congress convened this week to address the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina than a few misguided souls started harping about lifting a ban on drilling operations off Florida's coast.
Are they certifiably nuts? Or perhaps the sheer magnitude of human suffering inflicted by Katrina temporarily robbed them of their senses. Let's hope so. If Hurricane Katrina proved anything, it's the sheer folly of locating oil and drilling operations in one of the most storm-prone areas of the world.