Off-shore Fight Promised

TAMPA -

Congress can expect a fight when members return from vacation in a few weeks. Florida's senior senator is promising to defend against the expected push to lift the Congressional ban on off-shore gas and oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

US Senator Bill Nelson blames speculators for driving the price of oil above $100 a barrel. He says oil industry executives have testified before Congress that even with tighter supply and demand a barrel of oil should only cost about $55.

He promises to fight a bill proposed by the so-called 'Gang of 10' that would allow off shore drilling in the Gulf.

'They don't do anything on speculation of oil futures contracts,' Nelson says. 'They want to come up and drill off the west coast of Florida and they want to do that just in Florida. They don't want to touch California or anybody else.'

He says drilling would endanger Florida's tourism industry and interfere with military training done in the Gulf of Mexico.

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