- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oil drilling is dangerous

Your two recent Page One articles “Cuba drills for oil off Florida” (Monday) and “Cuba oil probe spurs calls for U.S. drilling” (Wednesday) are alarming to individuals concerned with the health of our environment.

American companies drilling for oil create a serious threat to the delicate maritime ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. However, having foreign countries such as China drilling for oil just a few miles farther away under Cuban environmental standards is an even more dangerous scenario.

While voting on Florida’s fate in regards to oil, environmental-minded legislators and their supporters should realize the implications of having Cuban/Chinese and not American companies off their coast. A “nay” on the bill in the Senate will not stop development, instead it will grant Cuba free rein with the oil fields. Where will the environmentalist go then? To Cuba or China where free expression and peaceful opposition is persecuted?

Permitting American companies to drill off the coast of Florida will make foreign companies think twice about investing in Cuba, since the fields can be extracted by companies in both countries. Competition with “U.S. companies which have the best deep-water equipment” will push foreign companies to review their cost-benefit analysis and possibly find it unprofitable investing with Fidel Castro.

GABRIEL ACOSTA-REYES

Washington

Don’t legalize dope

Terry Michael’s column (“Legalize drugs,” Op-Ed, July 24) and three letters to the editor on Thursday all titled “Legalize drugs” try to make the point that the nation would be better off if it just legalized drugs. But that idea is dangerous and preposterous given the evidence we have today of the influence that mind-altering and addictive substances have in destroying children, families, schools and communities.

Currently, drugs directly cause about 3,000 overdose deaths each month, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the equivalent of the deaths on September 11 occurring every month year in and year out. Legalizing drugs would drive that horrific statistic much higher.

Good examples of the actual harm drug legalization causes are found in cities such as Washington and Baltimore. Former Mayors Marion Barry (convicted on drug charges) and Kurt Schmoke (supported drug decriminalization), of D.C. and Baltimore respectively, both presided over cities which now boast among the highest levels of crime, drug addiction and overdose deaths in the entire nation.

What the nation really needs is not legalization of drugs but legalization of universal health screening of children for drugs by the proven drug-prevention strategy of random student drug testing (RSDT) for therapeutic purposes only. As in the military services, business and government agencies that use random drug testing, schools that use RSDT also have virtually eliminated drug use.

Legalizing mind-altering and addictive illegal drugs is dead wrong.

DEFOREST RATHBONE

Chairman

National Institute of

Citizen Anti-drug Policy

Great Falls, Va.

We need ‘comprehensive immigration reform’

The Hutchison-Pence immigration proposal (“Comprehensive immigration,” Op-Ed, Wednesday) breaks apart any comprehensive immigration reform plan in one notable spot: secure the border first and then work visas are discussed.

Whether the U.S. secures the border or starts a visa program, these suggestions will take years to implement. Why not start them at the same time? The sooner the better.

Migrants are crossing illegally every day because the legal pathway is overcrowded with 3 million applications. The failure to approve or deny these applicants exponentially encourages illegal immigration. The visa application system needs the most reform.

That’s why President Bush calls for “comprehensive immigration reform,” not border security alone.

Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego pushed immigrants east to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The border security plan succeeded in building walls, yet the migrants kept coming.

Today, there are more illegal crossings than ever because the visa application system remains untouched. Understanding migration patterns and relieving congested legal visa pathways is the best border security protection for preventing illegal immigration.

In short, start a massive work visa program to SAFE (Secure Authorized Foreign Employee) visa countries and revitalize immigration administrative procedures in conjunction with improved border security.

This three-part strategy is what President Bush means by “comprehensive” immigration reform. Anything less is unfinished reform. America is ready now for an entire overhaul of the immigration system.

KURT GRELA

Washington, DC

Time to reform CFIUS

The article “Overhaul cleared for review panel” (Nation, Thursday) highlighted some but not all of the problems with the recently passed Senate bill to restrict foreign investment.

S. 3549 seeks to change the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a body of representatives from federal agencies that reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies for national security implications. Among the bill’s poorly conceived provisions is one to require that governors and members of Congress from the home state and district be notified of foreign investments under review by CFIUS. These reviews are now confidential. This will encourage domestic investors to gain in the political arena what they lose in the competitive marketplace. It is ironic in a year that has witnessed charges of political corruption that the Senate would pass a bill creating numerous new circumstances for at least the appearance of such corruption.

In addition, S. 3549 would tilt the playing field by creating a separate approval timeline for foreign investors. The Senate bill would take CFIUS review times beyond the existing 30-day period, which now matches up with the current Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust reviews required of both American and foreign investors. If a potential buyer for your house told you it likely would take an extra 30 days to complete the sale, then wouldn’t you naturally turn to a different buyer?

American entrepreneurs and shareholders will be unable to obtain a fair market value for their assets if the Senate bill becomes law. Meanwhile, other nations will likely impose similar measures on U.S. individuals and companies.

Creating new restrictions on foreign investment under a broad definition of “critical infrastructure” would both harm job creation and undermine national security, because foreign investment in these sectors has both increased research and development and spurred additional competition and innovation.

If Congress makes America a less welcoming place for investment, then money that would have fueled the U.S. economy will flow to other nations, which would harm our ability to compete globally and to create jobs at home. The House should stick to its own version of CFIUS reform, since acceding to the Senate’s approach would reverberate around the globe, damaging U.S. prosperity and diminishing U.S. security.

STUART ANDERSON

Executive Director

National Foundation for

American Policy

Arlington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide