Jeb and George W. Lied during election-No drilling.

Chairman Bob Poe's letter to the editor of the Orlando Sentinel

07/12/2001 9:17:44 AM Oil Compromise Not Necessary

Last week's Bush Oil Compromise to allow drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is remarkable for what it doesn't mention. In her "My Word" piece Tuesday, Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood also fails to mention an important part of the compromise: There needn't have been one.

As chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, I would like to tell you why. In October, presidential candidate George W. Bush said, "I'm going to work with your governor on offshore drilling here in Florida. We're both against it."

A year earlier, at the Republican Party state convention, candidate Bush said, "I would work with Gov. [Jeb] Bush to support an offshore drilling ban in Florida."

And a few weeks before Election Day and with his brother present, Bush, the candidate, told the Sentinel's editorial board: "We won't explore in Florida or California."

It is clear that, by allowing drilling off the Florida coast in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, President Bush has broken his promise to the people of Florida. Why would there be a need for a compromise if both Jeb and George Bush opposed drilling off our coast?

There isn't.

Unfortunately, the only thing that has been compromised here is our fragile environment.

Hood, like Jeb Bush, also stated that the Bush Drilling Plan is better than what was offered by administrations of Lawton Chiles and Bill Clinton.

Here are the facts:

Under Chiles and Clinton, there was no drilling off the Florida coast.

Under the Bush brothers, there will be drilling off our coast.

Number of oil spills under Chiles and Clinton? Zero.

Number of oil spills under the Bush brothers? We'll have to wait and see.

The bottom line is that President Bush should have kept his promise not to drill off our coast, and Jeb Bush shouldn't have caved in to his older brother and Big Oil. Jeb was right when he wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton in April and stated that once drilling is permitted in the eastern Gulf, "further encroachment toward our beaches will become inevitable."

Now, because of the Bushes' broken promises, the future of Florida's environment has been compromised.

Jeb Bush is now trying to convince Floridians of something they know isn't true: that drilling the Florida Gulf is somehow a "win" for our state.

When President Bush broke his promise, we all lost.

Bob Poe