Training Needs Should Trump Drilling

Speaking at a news conference in his Tallahassee, Fla., office, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said that training needs for Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are more important than allowing offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The House Resources Committee, led by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), added a budget amendment recently that would permit drilling within 125 miles of the Florida coast. Nelson, who wrote a letter to Pombo opposing the amendment, said on Oct. 28 that he is confident that DOD will block the measure. Both the F/A-22 and Joint Strike Fighter have training bases on the Florida panhandle, he added, and drilling would impact readiness if allowed to move forward.