According to a front page article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, "The oil industry is on the verge of cracking open a deep-water region in the Gulf of Mexico that could become the nation's biggest new domestic source of oil since the discovery of Alaska's North Slope more than a generation ago."

This is great news for our country because we need to responsibly increase our domestic production while we also aggressively pursue alternative sources of energy and fuel. This is also great news for Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi - three states that are interested in Gulf drilling because of the resources and opportunities it may provide those states.

However, this is not good news for Florida. The Sunshine State continues to weather a bipartisan push for drilling off its pristine and renowned beaches. Unlike these other states, the vast majority of Floridians do not want drilling near our coasts, which attract millions of tourists to the state every year. Tourism is Florida's #1 industry, and the Florida delegation is united in opposing drilling off our treasured beaches.

These new discoveries of oil deposits in the Gulf only add to the pressure to drill and again highlights why we need a permanent drilling ban around the state of Florida. That is why I continue to support the Pombo-Putnam compromise in the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act.

I am hopeful that we can get the drilling ban done this year.