Six weeks ago, Rudy Giuliani warned Glenn Beck that, “in essence, we have China drilling for American oil,” just off the coast of Florida. It was a line conservatives used for weeks — the ghastly specter of China drilling for oil “45 miles from the Florida keys,” “closer to the United States” than American companies — as justification for opening up new offshore areas to American drilling.
The claim, however, was proved completely and utterly false, and leading conservatives declared the myth no longer a “talking point.” Undeterred, Giuliani hid behind the future tense this morning on Fox and Friends, warning that “the Chinese are going to be able to drill off the shore of Florida” some day in the imagined future:
The Chinese are going to be able to drill off the shore of Florida, in an area where America can’t drill. We’ve prohibited ourselves from drilling. This is absurd, isn’t it? … How can you be against offshore drilling when the Chinese are going to drill off the shore of Florida? Do you think they’re going to be more environmentally sound than we would be? I mean, this makes no sense.
In June, University of Miami’s Jorge Piñon, an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, tamped down on the original rumor: “China is not drilling in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters, period,” he said. Nor, he said, does it have plans to do so in the future:
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.
Someone should tell Giuliani that simply switching verb tenses doesn’t make a former “urban legend” suddenly true.