Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cuba's Oil Problem

To follow up on the last post, it seems that Florida Senator Mel Martinez has also decided to jump into the picture of Cuba's oil problem. It's not really so much a problem for Cuba, but instead a problem for supporters of the doomed US policy towards Cuba.

As I posted before, there is considerable support for US companies to explore for oil off the coast of Florida, especially in the form of a joint venture with Cuba.

Well, it seems that yesterday Senators Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) and Larry Craig (Idaho) have introduced an energy bill that would give American oil companies the right to compete for drilling contracts on Cuban waters. This bill is in opposition to another bill also introduced yesterday by Senator Mel Martinez calling for sanctions towards anyone who makes "any attempt to develop Cuba’s oil exploration program." It's basically an extension to the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.

But, of course, Mel Martinez and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also want to protect our "coastal waters and maritime habitats." Right?

According to the independent group League of Conservation Voters, who come out with scorecards on how often congressional representatives vote in favor for environmental initiatives, both Martinez and Ros-Lehtinen don't do so good. Ros-Lehtinen receives a score that hovers around 20% in total since 1999. And, our new Senator Martinez is off to a bad start with 10% so far.

Byron Dorgan's scores from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is far better than both Martinez and Ros-Lehtinen combined. No doubt that Ileana and Mel will want to ally themselves with the Florida Democrats on this issue, who, according to the LCV's annual reports, have better records than Republicans on the environment, in order to fool others that they really care about the Florida's coastal environment.

Nevertheless, its gonna be real interesting to see how things turn out. According to some polls, Floridians seems to show growing support for off-shore drilling, but are still somewhat cautious. Yet, its very likely that Florida business groups will get their way some how on Cuban oil.

Stay tuned.