C All 2008 7 22


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8-part series on big oil off Florida coast

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C All 2008 7 22

  1. 1. Tentative interest in tall condos OUR TOWN PAGE 1 CharlotteSun MEET-AND-GREET IN IRAQ OLYMPICS US TEAMS START CAMP AND WEEKLY HERALD Obama gained support from Iraq’s leaders in Final preparations begin for SPORTS wanting to pull U.S. troops out by 2010. FRONT PAGE 8 basketball team’s trip to Beijing. PAGE 1 AN EDITION OF THE SUN VOL. 116 NO. 204 AMERICA’S BEST COMMUNITY DAILY T U E S D A Y J U LY 2 2 , 2 0 0 8 www.sun-herald.com 50 cents Calling all investors In this May 14 photo, Jim Mulva, CEO of Conoco- Phillips, Big oil profits line shareholders’ pockets uses a chart to explain By JOHN PORRETTO they’re trying to find new oil retirement plans for millions the high AP BUSINESS WRITER that might help bring down of Americans, but no help to cost of HOUSTON — As giant oil gas prices, but the money drivers already making gasoline companies like Exxon Mobil they spend on exploration is drastic cutbacks to offset the during a and ConocoPhillips get set to nothing compared with what high cost of fuel. press report what will probably be they spend on stock buy- The five biggest interna- conference another round of eye-pop- backs and dividends. tional oil companies plowed in Houston. ping quarterly profits, just It’s good news for share- where is all that money going? holders, including mutual INVESTORS | P2 The companies insist funds and AP FILE PHOTO Texas, Feds debate drilling As members Mexico prepare of the U.S. Should states decide? Congress consider lifting the By NEIL HUGHES STAFF WRITER President Bush recently rescinded the executive Could the lease borders in the Gulf of Mexico be for Dolly offshore The offshore drilling order banning offshore drawn so that other states By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN drilling BUSH discussion isn’t just limited drilling for most of the U.S. control Florida’s waters? ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER moratorium, to Florida. coast. Congress has its own Rep. Tim Mahoney, Flori- McALLEN, Texas — Residents there are a Since federal bans were ban in place that must be da-16th District, said it’s a along the Texas-Mexico border put in place nearly two repealed before new leases real concern. kept a watchful eye on Tropical plethora of decades ago, most of the could be granted. “Louisiana and Missis- Storm Dolly on Monday, stocking issues that U.S. coastline has been As members of the U.S. sippi and Texas, those up on plywood, generators and need to be hands-off for oil companies. Congress consider lifting folks have made a value flashlights as forecasters predict- resolved. For Politically, lifting the ban the offshore drilling decision a long time ago ed the storm would strengthen starters, used to be a nonstarter. moratorium, there is a that they wanted to have into a hurricane later this week should MCCAIN Economically, expanding plethora of issues that the oil industry off their and make landfall. offshore drilling wasn’t as need to be resolved. For coast,” the Democrat The storm was expected to individual bring high winds and dump 10 to feasible. starters, should individual said. “They have the states be Funny how things states be allowed to decide infrastructure there, and 20 inches of rain in coastal areas allowed to change when the price of a their fate on offshore oil they want to make sure near the U.S.-Mexican border. decide their barrel of oil doubles in two drilling? What states would that the biggest financial Emergency officials feared major fate on years. control what parts of the benefit of oil being flooding problems and urged offshore oil Many Republicans coastline? Where would pumped off of Florida’s coastal residents to prepare. believe increasing domes- any windfall taxes be coast goes back to Missis- Shell Oil said it was evacuating drilling? What BUCHANAN tic production by obtaining directed? sippi, Louisiana and workers from oil rigs in the states would western Gulf Of Mexico, and the new reserves in banned Officials in Southwest Texas. We’re going to have control what areas could help reduce the Florida generally support to make sure that we have federal government was trying to parts of the price of oil. Most Democ- the idea of states’ rights on our fair share.” decide whether they could begin coastline? rats feel oil companies offshore drilling. Mahoney also believes construction on a new border Where would should exhaust the leased, “Let states decide for that a majority of the fence, which was to be combined any windfall untapped 65 million acres their own destiny,” said financial benefit of off- with levee improvements along — both onshore and off — Rep. Vern Buchanan, shore drilling will go to the Rio Grande in Hidalgo County. taxes be The National Hurricane Center that they currently have Republican in Florida’s directed? MAHONEY the rights to. 13th District. STATES| P4 DOLLY | P2 With gas prices at Gas prices tempt Florida Crist eyes record highs, Governor Crist has said lawmakers to rethink drilling retirement he would support the CRIST By NEIL HUGHES STAFF WRITER Fahrenheit $4: The the table for state officials if the federal government decides to repeal its long- offshore drilling. In fact, Rep. Michael Grant, R-Englewood, and loopholes currently- By BRENT KALLESTAD price-per-gallon at which standing moratorium that Sen. Mike Bennett, R- banned offshore oil drilling has blocked energy devel- Sarasota, would rather ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER option (on becomes a serious option opment over 80 percent of discuss alternative energy TALLAHASSEE — It’s an offer offshore in Florida. the country’s coastal to reduce U.S. dependence many private sector workers drilling) in In a well-publicized waters. on oil. In their eyes, the would envy — briefly retire and order to help reversal, Gov. Charlie Crist State officials in current oil prices are an receive thousands of dollars in a recently announced his Southwest Florida gener- opportunity for the coun- lump sum payment. Then go lower gas KREEGEL interest in offshore drilling ally agree with Crist’s try to focus its efforts. back to your old job and collect prices. And both a full salary and pension. to curb rising gas prices. It sentiment — as long as “Why don’t we do the with his directly contradicts with the drilling does not pose right thing right now, and More than 8,000 Florida state endorsement, his steadfast opposition to a threat to Florida’s let’s keep the pressure on employees are already taking along with the practice held years ago. environment. to develop renewable advantage of a 10-year-old that of But with gas prices at “Some things that are sources so that we as a program, returning to jobs after Republican record highs, the governor apparently dangerous, country can become cashing out of the retirement has said he would support with enough effort, can be independent of foreign system and receiving a monthly presidential pension check as well. Last year, candidate the currently-banned done safely,” said Rep. oil?” said Bennett, who is GRANT option in order to help Paige Kreegel, R-Punta chairman of the Florida Florida paid about $300 million John McCain, lower gas prices. And with Gorda, citing nuclear Committee on Communi- in pension benefits to people still talk of his endorsement, along power plants as an exam- cations and Public on the full-time payroll. offshore with that of Republican ple of potentially cata- Utilities. Usually called Deferred drilling in presidential candidate strophic power sources The Florida senator Retirement Option Programs, or Florida John McCain, talk of that operate safely. criticized members of the DROPs, they originated in offshore drilling in Florida That’s not to say any- federal government for Louisiana in the early 1980s to has been address a problem caused by the has been heating up. one is particularly excit- heating up. relatively early retirements of The option could be on ed by the prospect of RETHINK| P4 BENNETT public safety personnel. CRIST | P2 INDEX| FRONT: State 5 | Nation 2,6,15 | World 6,8,15 | Business 9-13 | Weather 16 | TV Grid 15,16 | OUR TOWN: Police Beat 3 | Obituaries 5 | Crossword 10 | Abby 11 Daily Edition 50¢ High Low SLAIN OFFICER CHARLIE SAYS ... Let’s hope they don’t mix piranhas in with 92 76 30 percent chance of rain Lee, Charlotte County law enforcement agencies have been raising money for Widman’s wife, children. OUR TOWN PAGE 1 carps for those fish pedicures — folks could be missing more than scaly skin. 7 05252 00025 8 Send suggestions to charliesays@sun-herald.com
  2. 2. Front Page 2 D/E/N/C www.sun-herald.com FROM PAGE ONE The Sun /Tuesday, July 22, 2008 BITS 47 CRIST: State retirement program has loopholes FROM PAGE 1 DROP plans. And now Florida’s “DROPs are a legiti- governor has questions. Ebert, Roeper leave mate human resources “People earn and management tool,” said deserve to have a movie review show Keith Brainard, research pension, but to sort of CHICAGO — Chicago director at the National use the system in such a Sun-Times film critic Roger Association of State way as that I don’t think Ebert says he’s cutting ties Retirement Administra- is a wise use of taxpay- with the tors based in Austin, ers’ dollars,” said Florida television Texas. “If they have a Gov. Charlie Crist, who show that he problem, the problem is is pushing changes to and the late not the DROP itself. It’s the state’s program. “I Gene Siskel how it’s designed.” just think it’s wrong.” made And while Brainard’s Crist, however, has famous. group does not take a yet to offer specific fixes. In an e- position on the merits of In Florida, instead of mail to The DROP, the plans in some retiring after 30 years EBERT Associated and receiving a monthly Press on instances have been AP PHOTO poorly designed. pension check, state and Monday, Ebert said Patsy Fisher, 42, of Crofton, Md., center, checks on the progress of KaNin Reese, 32, of A 2002 DROP scandal education employees in Milwaukee County have the option of Disney-ABC Washington, with Tracy Roberts, 33, of Rockville, Md., left, during their fish pedicure at Domestic Yvonne Hair and Nails salon in Alexandria, Va. on Thursday. led to the resignation of remaining in the job for up to five additional Television the county administra- years, with their retire- had decided to take the show “in a Carp pedicures rid tor, the recall of seven county supervisors and ment pay going into an account that pays 6.5 a 60-day jail term for the percent annual interest. ROEPER new direc- tion” and he won’t be associated with it. human feet of scaly skin county personnel chief. Only a small percent- Illinois, Pennsylvania age of the roughly 100,000 and some large munici- employees in Florida’s palities — including By MATTHEW BARAKAT first used in Turkey and minutes in the tank, DROP program have the His announcement ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER Houston, Philadelphia, connections to come came a day after Chicago have become popular in customers get a stan- ALEXANDRIA, Va. — some Asian countries. dard pedicure, made and San Diego — have back to work because Sun-Times columnist been forced to address administrators must Richard Roeper said he Ready for the latest in But Ho doubted they easier by the soft skin spa pampering? Prepare would thrive in the the doctor fish leave problems as well with approve the rehiring. was leaving the nationally syndicated “At the Movies to dunk your tootsies in warm water needed for behind. With Ebert & Roeper.” a tank of water and let a comfortable footbath. Ho believes his is the Roeper said in a state- ment Sunday that he had tiny carp nibble away. Fish pedicures are And he didn’t know if customers would like only salon in the coun- try to offer the treat- DOLLY: Hurricane watch failed to agree on a contract creating something of a the idea. ment, which costs $35 extension with Disney-ABC Domestic Television so his splash in the D.C. area, where a northern “I know people were a little intimidated at first,” for 15 minutes and $50 for 30 minutes. The spa issued for Texas, Mexico last appearance on the Virginia spa has been Ho said. “But I just said, has more than 1,000 FROM PAGE 1 Yucatan peninsula, show will air the weekend offering them for the ‘Let’s give it a shot.’” fish, with about 100 in which was battered by of Aug. 16-17. in Miami issued a strong winds and past four months. John Customers were each individual pedicure hurricane watch from “Several months ago, Ho, who runs the quickly hooked. tank at any given time. drenched with rain a Disney offered to extend Brownsville north to day earlier. Yvonne Hair and Nails Tracy Roberts, 33, of Dennis Arnold, a Port O’Connor. my contract, which expires Dolly was moving salon with his wife, Rockville, Md., heard podiatrist who four Mexico also announced at the conclusion of the toward the west at 16 2007-08 season,” Roeper Yvonne Le, said 5,000 about it on a local radio years ago established a hurricane watch from mph. The storm was said. “I opted to wait. Much people have taken the show. She said it was the International Rio San Fernando north expected to gradually transpired after that behind plunge so far. “the best pedicure I Pedicure Association, to Matamoros and the slow in the next couple the scenes, but an agree- “This is a good ever had” and has said he had never heard U.S. border. days but stay on track ment was never reached, treatment for everyone spread the word to of the treatment and Dolly was expected to toward the U.S.-Mexico ......................................... and we are all moving on.” who likes to have nice friends and co-workers. doubts it will become make landfall Wednesday border. Maximum feet,” Ho said. “I’d been an athlete all widespread. as a Category 1 storm sustained winds were 50 He said he wanted to my life, so I’ve always had “I think most people ALMANAC come up with some- calluses on my feet. This would be afraid of it,” he with sustained winds of mph, and tropical storm- Today is Tuesday, July 22, the 74 mph to 95 mph. force winds extended thing unique while was the first time some- said. Texas officials said they outward up to 175 miles. 204th day of 2008. There are finding a replacement body got rid of my Customer Patsy 162 days left in the year. wouldn’t order evacua- Dolly’s winds were for pedicures that use calluses completely,” she Fisher, 42, of Crofton, tions along the coast expected to strengthen Today in history razors to scrape off dead said. Md., admitted she was unless Dolly strengthens Tuesday to hurricane skin. The razors have First time customer nervous as she prepared to a Category 3, with force, which would mean On July 22, 1933, American fallen out of favor with KaNin Reese, 32, of for her first fish pedi- sustained winds of at at least 74 mph. aviator Wiley Post completed the state regulators because Washington, described cure. But her apprehen- least 111 mph. Gov. Rick Perry first solo flight around the world of concerns about the tingling sensation sion dissolved into At 8 p.m. EDT, the activated 1,200 National as he returned to New York’s whether they’re sanitary. created by the toothless laughter after she put Guard troops and other center of Tropical Storm Floyd Bennett Field after traveling Ho was skeptical at fish: “It kind of feels like her feet in the tank and Dolly was located about emergency crews, for 7 days, 18 3/4 hours. first about the fish, your foot’s asleep,” she the fish swarmed to her 405 miles east-southeast mindful of the disas- which are called Garra said. toes. of Brownsville. Mexico trous evacuation before On this date rufa but typically known The fish don’t do the “It’s a little ticklish, Hurricane Rita hit the discontinued its tropical In 1587, an English colony as doctor fish. They were job alone. After 15 to 30 actually,” she said. storm warning for the Texas Gulf Coast in 2005. fated to vanish under mysterious circumstances was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina. In 1796, Cleveland was founded by Gen. Moses Cleaveland. INVESTORS: Profit goes to buybacks Sun Newspapers MEMBER of the Audit Bureau of Circulation FROM PAGE 1 on stock buybacks major oil companies. In 1937, the Senate rejected alone, compared with Investor-owned President..........................................Derek Dunn-Rankin................941-206-1001 President Roosevelt’s proposal to about 55 percent of the $5.5 billion on explo- companies like Exxon Publisher..........................................David Dunn-Rankin................941-206-1003 add more justices to the cash they made from ration and other capital Mobil and Chevron hold Editor ...............................................Chris Porter.............................941-206-1134 Supreme Court. their businesses into projects. less than 10 percent of Managing Editor...............................John Hackworth......................941-206-1147 In 1942, the Nazis began stock buybacks and ConocoPhillips has global oil and gas DeSoto/Hardee Sun Editor..............Laura Schmid.........................863-494-0300 transporting Jews from the dividends last year, up already told investors reserves, way down from DeSoto General Manager ................Joe Gallimore .........................863-494-0300 Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka from 30 percent in 2000 that its stock buybacks past decades. And Charlotte Sun Editor ........................Lorraine Schneeberger...........941-206-1168 concentration camp. and just 1 percent in for April to June of this finding new oil has North Port Sun Editor.......................Elaine Allen-Emrich ................941-429-3003 In 1975, the House of 1993, according to Rice year will come to about become harder and North Port General Manager............Steve Sachkar........................941-429-3003 Representatives joined the University’s James A. Senate in voting to restore the $2.5 billion — nine more expensive. Englewood Sun Editor......................Christy Arnold.........................941-681-3000 Baker III Institute for times what it spent on State-run oil compa- Englewood General Manager...........Lang Capasso ........................941-681-3000 American citizenship of Confed- Public Policy. erate Gen. Robert E. Lee. exploration. nies, like those in Saudi The percentage they Stock buybacks are Arabia and Venezuela, HARDEE/DESOTO ENGLEWOOD Today’s birthdays spend to find new common throughout control about 80 percent deposits of fossil fuels has CIRCULATION CIRCULATION corporate America, not of oil reserves — and at Former Senate Majority Leader remained flat for years, in just for Big Oil. They Customer Service Customer Service today’s prices, it’s not Bob Dole, R-Kan., is 85. Fashion the mid-single digits. shrink the amount of surprising they’re keep- 863-494-2434 941-681-3000 designer Oscar de la Renta is The issue has become stock on the open ing a tight grip on what Fax: 863-494-3533 Fax: 941-681-3008 76. Actress Louise Fletcher is more sensitive as market, essentially they have. Scarce equip- info@sun-herald.com 74. Game show host Alex Trebek lawmakers and Ameri- increasing its value and ment and hard-to-find is 68. Singer George Clinton is cans frustrated by high giving individual share- labor also pose problems. Classified Classified 67. Actor-singer Bobby Sherman gas prices have balked at holders a bigger stake in So what’s Big Oil to 863-494-2434 941-475-2200 is 65. Actor Danny Glover is gaudy reports of oil the company. do? Fax: 863-494-3533 Fax: 941-485-3036 61.Rock singer Don Henley is industry profits. Cono- But some critics say The companies say 61. Folk singer Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls) is 45. Actor- coPhillips is scheduled Big Oil focuses too much they are doing what they NORTH PORT CHARLOTTE to kick off the latest on boosting stock prices, can to find more fossil CIRCULATION CIRCULATION comedian David Spade is 44. round of Big Oil earn- in an industry that fuels around the world, Customer Service Actor Colin Ferguson is 36. ings reports Wednesday. Customer Service sometimes ties executive but the easy oil is gone. ........................................ . Singer Rufus Wainwright is 35. Oil prices are set on the 941-429-3000 941-206-1300 pay to stock price. Exploring these days open market, not by the Fax: 941-423-2318 Fax: 941-629-2085 And in focusing on may mean expensive NEWS OF oil industry. But that buybacks and dividends projects in thousands of info@sun-herald.com info@sun-herald.com THE WEIRD hasn’t stopped public over exploring for new feet of water in the Gulf Classified ads Punta Gorda Herald office Drive it like protests, a series of oil, some critics say, oil of Mexico or costly 941-205-1000 congressional grillings for companies jeopardize ventures pulling petrole- 941-429-3000 you stole it Port Charlotte Town Center top oil executives, and a its already dwindling um from Canada’s vast mall kiosk In Ocala, in March, Bret Wass, failed attempt by law- share of world supply. oil-sands deposits. Display Advertising 941-206-1700 28, scrambling from police makers to slap Big Oil “If you’re not spending TransCanada Corp. and North Port 941-429-3000 investigating a sexual battery, with a windfall profits tax. your money finding and ConocoPhillips Co. just Charlotte 941-206-1214 commandeered a tow truck and In the first three developing new oil, then said they’d spend $7 Englewood 941-681-3000 Classified drove away, even though the truck months of this year, there’s no new oil,” said billion to nearly double DeSoto 863-494-2434 had a car hooked onto it; during Hardee 863-494-2434 941-206-1200 Exxon Mobil Corp., the Amy Myers Jaffe, an the amount of crude Fax: 941-629-7740 the chase, he hit the patrol car world’s biggest publicly energy expert at Rice flowing through a pipeline National & Regional Advertisers classified@sun-herald.com and was captured on foot nearby. traded oil company, University who’s studied from Canada’s tar sands to 941-206-1270 ads@sun-herald.com — From wire reports shelled out $8.8 billion spending patterns of the the U.S. Gulf Coast. The SUN (USPS 743170) is published daily at Sun Coast Media Group, Inc., 23170 Harborview Road, Port Charlotte, FL 33980-2100. Periodicals postage paid at Punta Gorda, FL. Postmaster: Please send address changes to the SUN, 23170 Harborview Road, Port Charlotte, Florida 33980-2100.
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  4. 4. Front Page 4 D/E/N/C www.sun-herald.com FROM PAGE ONE The Sun /Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Famed dry hole in the Gulf gets a second shot By RUSSELL GOLD ened the industry, stirring down another couple of prime position to capitalize. investment by making a THE WALL STREET JOURNAL wildcatter passions and thousand feet to find out what McMoRan's drill bits have commercial find. Mr. Moffett McMoRan Exploration Co. is prompting companies to look was there. been churning through said Thursday he believes leading a renewed effort to anew at previously abandoned Almost all of the big Gulf ancient rock at the Blackbeard Blackbeard could hold natural find natural gas in a site known projects. fields discovered over the past site since March. Thursday, gas equivalent to anywhere as one of the world’s deepest Earlier this year, McMoRan decade are in thousands of the New Orleans-based from 300 million to two billion dry holes. Co-Chairman James R. “Jim feet of deep water. But if company reported it was barrels of oil, which would Exxon Mobil Corp. walked Bob” Moffett decided the site Blackbeard hits a big pocket of below 32,550 feet, the deepest make it one of the biggest finds away from the legendary was worth another shot. Most gas, the strike could set off a penetration of the earth ever in years. Blackbeard prospect in the Gulf of the hard work — drilling to new frenzy of drilling in the recorded, according to drilling But nothing is sure until the of Mexico in 2006 after drilling 30,000 feet — had already Gulf's shallow waters, and data from IHS Inc. And it's gas begins to flow. Exxon, one to more than 30,000 feet been done by Exxon, Mr. McMoRan — which has the going deeper. of the most technologically without a payoff. But high Moffett told investors. rights to drill on nearby But oil companies don't drill adept producers in the world, energy prices have embold- McMoRan just needed to get acreage — would be in a to set records. They justify their failed in its efforts at the site. How dependent are we on foreign oil? 14 17 25 38 10 02 r 13 r 34 26 24 01 40 31 22 29 08 39 16 07 23 03 11 04 19 37 35 21 32 20 06 18 05 27 12 36 28 41 15 33 09 u ? - 0 30 Map indicates where the oil Americans consumed in 2006* was produced. Figures represent number of barrels, rounded to the nearest million. Only countries exporting at least 10 million barrels to the U.S. are included. *2006 is the last year for which complete data is available. More than 200 million to 100 million to 50 milllion to 20 million to 10 million to OPEC member 500 million 500 million 200 million 100 million 50 million 20 million countries 01. United States . . . . . . . . . .1.862 billion 12. Ecuador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101 million 23. Libya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 million 34. Estonia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 million 02. Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .858 million 13. United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . .99 million 24. France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 million 35. Oman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 million 03. Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .622 million 14. Norway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71 million 25. Belgium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 million 36. Congo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 million 04. Saudi Arabia . . . . . . . . . . .534 million 15. Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 million 26. Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 million 37. Netherlands Antilles . . . . . . .12 million 05. Venezuela . . . . . . . . . . . . .517 million 16. Kuwait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 million 27. Equatorial Guinea . . . . . . . . .22 million 38. Sweden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 million 06. Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .406 million 17. The Netherlands . . . . . . . . . .63 million 28. Gabon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 million 39. China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 million 07. Algeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240 million 18. Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 million 29. Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 million 40. Azerbaijan . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 million 08. Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202 million 19. Aruba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 million 30. Argentina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 million 41. Indonesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 million 09. Angola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195 million 20. Trinidad and Tobago . . . . . . .43 million 31. Spain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 million 10. Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134 million 21. Chad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 million 32. Vietnam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 million SUN GRAPHIC BY JOSH OLIVE 11. U.S. Virgin Islands . . . . . . . .119 million 22. South Korea . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 million 33. Peru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 million — Source: U.S. Energy Informaiton Administration STATES: Should states RETHINK: High gas prices put new spin on drilling be allowed to choose? FROM PAGE 1 on the moon and invent the atomic bomb in that newly-adopted rules as Crist: If oil drilling can be “Hurricane Katrina passed over those oil FROM PAGE 1 He said he believes they what he said has been time, they can find a clean, safe, reliable and fields,” Kreegel said. “How have falsely inflated the inaction in seeking viable alternative to oil. aesthetically pleasing, it’s much oil was spilled from other Gulf states that have “You cannot tell me we OK with him. there? Zero, from what I price of oil by as much as renewable energy an established oil- cannot become indepen- He cited the existing oil know.” 30 percent. sources. producing infrastructure dent of foreign oil in less fields in the Gulf of The Associated Press Adding to the price of “If, in fact, the United in place. time than it takes us to contributed to this report. gas, Mahoney said, is States government were Mexico as a testament to “Basically Florida is an incremental pickup, so excessive spending and not addicted to oil money drill it and get it out the safety of the practice. E-mail: nhughes@sun-herald.com borrowing by the federal from the lobbyists, they there,” he said. they (oil companies) see Grant, too, hopes the government. He said a would have taken us this as a windfall profit,” Mahoney said. “On balanced budget would go a long way in reducing down the path of renew- discussion remains on alternative energy rather Who produces our oil? Florida’s side, we’re not able a long time ago,” he gas prices. said. than oil. Percentage of annual Foreign non- going to see Chevron U.S. consumption for “If we said to the world, Bennett doesn’t have a “At some point in time, OPEC nations moving a big research 2006, the last year ‘Guess what, we’re not problem with the act of you can’t be dependent for which complete 43.6% and development center borrowing any money drilling — he thinks it’s on Saudi Arabia, Iraq or data is available. to Sarasota or Port Charlotte.” anymore;’ that could be safe and could be done at Iran for the energy you the biggest thing that we a distance where it need,” Grant said, noting Both Buchanan and OPEC nations could do to reduce the that increasing capacity Mahoney are joined by wouldn’t be an eyesore — Domestic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson in cost of gas at the pump,” but he opposes it because will likely not reduce U.S. production 29.3% Mahoney said. dependence on foreign opposition to offshore he would prefer the drilling. They feel it Beyond financial country put its efforts on oil. 27.1% places Florida’s tourism reform, all three officials Currently, nearly two- hope to see federal dollars alternatives. thirds of the United economy and natural He recalled great beauty at risk. directed toward alterna- States’ oil comes from tive energy sources. historical feats by Ameri- foreign countries, Nelson has introduced cans, such as putting a a bill in the U.S. Senate “We’ve got to be willing according to the U.S. to invest in our universi- man on the moon, as Energy Information that would ban unregulat- ties and other sources to evidence of collective Administration. ed speculative trading of find other sources of American ambition at For starters, he’d prefer oil futures. “Sometimes I have been energy other than this,” work. drilling for gas before oil. a lonely voice because it Buchanan said. “The Manhattan “If there’s any pollution is easy and seductive to He cited France’s Project, they delivered involved with gas, I’m say, with $4 gas, we ought reliance on nuclear power that project in 18 months, unaware of what it would to drill,” Nelson said on as a start. The French, he because they delivered be,” he said. the Senate floor in June. said, utilized American the best and the bright- All three officials — “But I hope I have perfection of nuclear est,” Bennett said. Kreegel, Grant and demonstrated to the power and embraced it to According to Libby Bennett — said they are Senate that the problem is avoid commitment to Cheney, vice president, concerned about the much more complicated petroleum. region support direc- environmental effects of and that we cannot “They (the French) did torate for Shell explo- offshore oil drilling. But simply drill our way out of not want to be in the ration and production, it none expressed a belief the problem.” situation that we’re in would take five to seven that current drilling Buchanan said he today,” Buchanan said. years to get an oil-drilling practices pose any threat agrees with the Senate’s “We’re basically hooked platform out in the Gulf. to the environment. — Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration push to remove specula- on this drug called gas.” By Bennett’s logic, if Kreegel said he sub- tors from the oil market. E-mail: nhughes@sun-herald.com Americans can put a man scribes to the same SUN GRAPHIC BY JOSH OLIVE