Sen. Martinez Calls Out Dick Cheney’s Lie On Oil Drilling Off Coast Of Cuba

In a speech before the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney – the former CEO of the oil services company Halliburton — called for a substantial increase in domestic drilling for oil and other natural resources.

In his speech, Cheney claimed that China is pumping for oil off the coast of Florida, noting that “even the Communists” understand the need for more drilling:

It’s my own view that we should be drilling in ANWR in an environmentally responsible way, which could increase our daily domestic oil production by as much as a million barrels a day. As for other locations, George Will pointed out in his column the other day that oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida. But 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.

Mother Jones and the Gavel note that Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have uttered the same talking points. It’s false. And they’re being called out on it by a conservative senator who knows more about the issue than they do.

Armed with maps and reports, Sen. Mel Martinez – a Florida Republican who served in Bush’s cabinet – took to the Senate floor to dispute Cheney’s claim:

Despite what is cited as fact here in the Senate and in other places, China is not drilling off the coast of Cuba. … Reports to the contrary are simply false. … So any talk of using some fabricated China/Cuba connection as an argument to change U.S. policy, in my view, has no merit.

Watch it:

Daniel J. Weiss, senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, disputed Cheney’s prescription. “The only people who would benefit from more oil drilling are the oil companies,” he said.

The United States has less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, while consuming 25 percent of the world’s oil. Our own oil supply, without foreign imports, would last just three years. Drilling is not the solution.

As Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Chairman of House Select Committee on Energy Independence, said yesterday, “Even if we are able to drill every last drop of domestic reserves and are able to prod OPEC into further feeding our addition by increasing capacity, we are left with a much greater problem: Our planet will choke on all of that CO2.”