Alaska editorial: Why consider Cuban oil when we've got our own?

Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This editorial appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

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Some things are just plain outrageously frustrating. You know, things like abandoning the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba just because that country has recently found lots of oil when we should really be getting our own oil from our own reserves, like in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Talk about a head-scratcher.

Cuba now has lots of oil, and other countries are lining up to get it. The Associated Press reported last week that companies from China, India, Norway, Spain, Canada, Venezuela and Brazil are ready to develop these new deep-water finds located in the North Cuba Basin, about 20 miles northeast of Havana.

Whether or not the U.S. trade embargo has outlived its usefulness after 45 years of trying to unseat Cuban leader Fidel Castro is a separate debate. It may indeed be the case that the embargo will finally hurt the United States by not allowing U.S. companies to vie for the Cuban oil.

The important related debate for this country is access not to Cuba's oil but to Alaska's oil. It's up there, waiting, though kept off limits through what essentially amounts to an embargo imposed by the United States on itself. Repeated attempts to open the coastal plain of the refuge have met with failure, largely at the hands of the Democratic Party but with a few misguided votes by some northeast Republicans.

Why agonize over whether to lift the trade embargo on Cuba when there's untapped oil sitting on the North Slope?

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