Florida ads target Alaska oil drilling

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 10 (UPI) -- Television commercials urging freshman Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., to vote against oil and gas drilling in Alaska began Thursday in two Florida cities.

The advertisements ask voters in Tallahassee and Orlando, Fla., to call Martinez and tell him to vote against the drilling, The Miami Herald reported.


The ads warn drilling in Alaska could lead to drilling off the west coast of Florida and elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.

"If you can do it in the Arctic, you can do it anywhere," said Charles Lee, vice president of Audubon of Florida, one of the organizations behind the ads.

Others who are funding the campaign are the National Wildlife Federation, Florida Wildlife Federation and the Florida Conservation Alliance.

The Bush administration has been advocating opening Alaska and parts of the gulf to exploration. Officials argue untapped oil reserves are needed to cut back on the dependence on foreign imports.

But in the past, the same officials have promised not to drill too close to the Florida coast.

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