Martinez discusses energy and the economy

10/14/08 Seán Kinane
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Two of the most pressing issues of this campaign season are the faltering economy and the topic of energy. Inside a cruise terminal at the Port of Tampa this afternoon, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Electric and the University of South Florida hosted a forum on those topics.

Republican Sen. Mel Martinez led a panel discussion about how the economy and energy are related. Martinez said America’s energy future includes a range of sources, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“I have always supported the idea that in ANWR on 2,000 acres … in Alaska that we could safely drill for more resources and more oil. If we had, we would be today be producing about three billion barrels a day.”

Later, Martinez was asked to clarify the amount of domestic oil production and he corrected himself, saying the output would be three million barrels per day. But Martinez said coal would also be part of this country’s energy future.

“We are the Saudi Arabia of coal.”

TECO President Chuck Black said climate change needs to be addressed, but in cost-effective ways. A solution will “take more efficiency and more supply” of energy, Black said.

Richard Wainio, the CEO of the Tampa Port Authority, said the importance of a range of fuels could be increasing at the port.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker agreed, Florida needs to consider several different energy sources, including nuclear.

“Other forms of alternative energies are going to be a piece of it, but we also have to consider the cost impact on the consumer.”

Photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF

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Single Mom; Survivor; Taxpayer

Mr. Martinez; Thank you for working toward a bi-partisan agreement on issues concerning your tax-payer bosses. I feel that coal, although bountiful, is the wrong resource to develop. It is dirty. Know that we, the people, will go to the polls in great numbers to change this state/country, if our needs continue to be ignored. Thank God Obama is our President. God bless.