West (Cliff Owen/AP)Florida Republican Rep. Allen West kept his promise to Rep. Michele Bachmann when he said he would "straighten her out" about her willingness to drill for oil and natural gas in the Florida Everglades.
West sent a letter to the Republican presidential candidate on Tuesday, explaining in detail why--in his words--she made an "incredible faux pas" by supporting energy exploration in the national park.
"I was troubled by a recent interview you gave in which you discussed the possibility of drilling in the Everglades," West wrote in the letter.
"As a Representative from Minnesota, I understand you may not fully understand the importance of the Everglades, not only to citizens of South Florida, but to the entire state of Florida," he added.
Bachmann said at a campaign stop in Sarasota, Fla. last month that she would be open to oil exploration in Everglades National Park, a suggestion that received a swift rebuke from Florida Republicans.
"The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness," Bachmann said at the time. "Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that's in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is. Of course it needs to be done responsibly. If we can't responsibly access energy in the Everglades then we shouldn't do it."
But West and several other Florida policymakers wouldn't be willing to take the risk, no matter how responsible the oil companies are.
In the letter, West pointed out that the park covers 1.5 million acres in Florida, is home to more than 60 endangered species, "the largest stand of protected mangrove forests in the Western Hemisphere" and that drilling should be considered "absolutely off-limits."
"As you can see, the Everglades represents on of the most cherished treasures of the United States, and should be off limits for exploration of any kind of natural energy resource," West wrote.