It's the story that while the Congress refuses to open up ANWR to
We got verification from the second highest office in the land:
The dirty bastards!
Even Vice President Dick Cheney got into the mix Wednesday, telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that ``oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida. We're not doing it. The Chinese are in cooperation with the Cuban government.
''Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply,'' he added. ``Yet Congress has said . . . no to drilling off Florida.''
Only, it looks like the story isn't true.
Today a Republican Senator from Florida, Mel Martinez had this to say on the floor of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body:
''Reports to the contrary are simply false,'' Martinez said, his remarks delivered just before Cheney spoke. ``They are akin to urban legends. China drilling off the coast of Cuba only 60 miles from the Keys, that is not taking place. . . Any talk of using some fabricated Cuba-China connection as an argument to change U.S. policy has no merit.''Of course the GOP had a handy retort:
Here's the Times article (I think).
House Minority Leader John Boehner's office defended the GOP drilling claims, pointing to a 2006 New York Times story that noted Cuba had ``negotiated lease agreements with China and other energy-hungry countries to extract resources.''
''The fact is China can drill off the coast of the United States and Americans can't,'' said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. ``At a time when the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas is over $4, that policy just doesn't make sense.''
But notice something. What did Boehner's spokesman say? "The fact is China can drill off the coast..." And what did Dick say? "...oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast ..."
My friends, there's huge difference between "can" and "is" isn't there? The latter asserts the thing actually happening but the former asserts merely the possibility of it happening. Huge difference.
In any event, we learn from The Politico:
Democrats today pointed to a February 29, 2008 Congressional Research Service that found “[w]hile there has been some concern about China’s potential involvement in offshore deepwater oil projects, to date its involvement in Cuba’s oil sector has been focused on onshore oil extraction in Pinar del Rio province through its state-run China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).”And then there's this from McClatchy:
And even if there was drilling (and it looks like there ain't) that wouldn't be doing much for the Cubans or the Chinese anyway:
China's Sinopec oil company does have an agreement with the Cuban government, but it's to develop onshore resources west of Havana, Pinon said. The Chinese have done some seismic testing, he said, but no drilling, and nothing offshore.
Western diplomats in Havana tell McClatchy that to the best of their knowledge, there is no Chinese drilling in or around Cuba.
"I've never heard anything about this," said one diplomat from a country in the hemisphere.
So that just about kills that.
Cuba's state oil company, Cupet, has issued exploration contracts to companies from India, Canada, Spain, Malaysia and Norway, according to diplomats.
But many oil companies from those countries have expressed reservations about how to turn potential crude oil into product. Cuba doesn't have the refinery capacity, and the Cuban embargo prohibits the oil from coming to U.S. refineries, [Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami] said.