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China Plans to Drill off U.S. Coast

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

china wants to drill for oil north of cuba

Imagine black oil washing up onto the shore of Key West and other beaches in South Florida, choking and killing thousands of birds, fish and other wildlife. It would be the Exxon Valdez all over again, but this time instead of off the Alaskan coast, it would be on the beautiful beaches of South Florida. Florida would then lose billions of dollars in tourism dollars and would need federal dollars to help clean up this mess.

That’s what could happen if China gets its way and begins drilling north of Cuba, just 45 miles from Key West and an accident occurred. It’s bad enough that China wants to drill for oil just miles from the the United States.

While some politicians want to drill off the Florida coast, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida rightly points out that a Cuban oil spill could devastate Florida’s environment and $50-billion tourism industry. He wants to block drilling north of Cuba:

“Any oil spill 45 miles from Key West is going to absolutely devastate all those delicate coral reefs, the fragile Florida Keys, and would endanger pristine beaches all the way up to Fort Pierce,” said Nelson, a Democrat.

Cuba pumps about 80,000 barrels of oil a day in Havana and Matanzas provinces, but it is of poor quality and meets less than half of the country’s needs.

Thus there has been considerable excitement about fields off the northwest Cuban coast that could contain 4.5-billion to 9-billion barrels of oil – almost as much as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

In February 2005, Castro announced that huge Chinese drilling rigs would be used to further explore areas in which a Spanish company had reported promising results. The Cuban government also signed a contract with China’s oil and gas company, Sinopec, to work in areas around the island thought to contain oil deposits.

We should prevent them from drilling anywhere near the U.S. Coast, with military ships if neccessary. Why not? It threatens billions of dollars in tourism revenue, plus I don’t want anything Chinese that close to our shores.

Source: St. Pete Times

Company and Day-Specific Gas Boycotts Don’t Work

Monday, April 24th, 2006

With rising gas prices, many people are calling for boycotts of gas on certain days, or boycotts of certain companies, such as Exxon and Mobil. You may have gotten one of these forwarded messages via e-mail or a MySpace bulletin. But a recent MSNBC article shows how neither of these work, since people still need to get to work and would buy gas before or after the designated day, and company-specific boycotts would only cause the companies where people are buying gas from to possibly even raise their prices. The only sure way to bring the prices down is to reduce demand. But demand is going up, so prices will not drop anytime soon. Maybe we should ban automobiles that only go a few miles per gallon, like the totally unnecessary Hummer.

Brazil Secretly Prepares to Enrich Uranium

Monday, April 24th, 2006

According to an Associated Press article, Brazil may be “re-thinking its commitment to nonproliferation.”

As Iran faces international pressure over developing the raw material for nuclear weapons, Brazil is quietly preparing to open its own uranium enrichment center, capable of producing exactly the same fuel.

While Brazil is more cooperative than Iran on international inspections, some worry its new enrichment capability – which eventually will create more fuel than is needed for its two nuclear plants – suggests that South America’s biggest nation may be rethinking its commitment to nonproliferation.

While Brazil has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is planning to be able to produce more nuclear fuel than it will need, worrying some (If they do not plan on selling or sending enriched uranium to other countries, why make more than what is needed for the domestic nuclear plants?). Although most people regard Brazil’s nuclear energy program as peaceful, it’s enrichment program, secrecy and “reluctance to allow unlimited inspections” of its facilities has worried some.

“Brazil is beginning to be perceived as a country apparently wanting to re-evaluate its commitment to nonproliferation, and this is a big part of the problem,” said Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

The government-run Industrias Nucleares do Brasil S.A. has been conducting final tests at the enrichment plant, built on a former coffee plantation in Resende, 90 miles west of Rio de Janeiro. When it opens this year, Brazil will join the world’s nuclear elite.

Australia Sells Uranium to China

Friday, April 21st, 2006

Emily Messner of the Washington Post reports that Australia decided to sell uranium to the China’s Hu regime. She also has some helpful information about radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

The same can be said of nuclear technologies — and it’s a dilemma for the United States. Is it wise for the United States to provide technologies to developing countries that want to pursue civilian nuclear power generation? Such an approach could help ensure that Americans have vital knowledge of those emerging energy programs.

On the other hand, proliferation concerns, waste issues and many of the other drawbacks we’ve discussed this week must be considered. Should U.S. policy be to refuse to provide nuclear technologies, even though that runs the risk that developing nations will procure them from other countries instead, potentially leaving Americans in the dark about those new nuclear capabilities.