Oil Drilling Off the South Florida Coast: The Bahamas and Cuba Stake Their Claims

Categories: Environment, News
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They didn't have much reason to do it before, but the Bahamas and Cuba have defined an international boundary in the waters off the coast of Florida. Now, the reason is clear: Both countries are poised to start drilling for oil from floating rigs.

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham cochaired a commission that investigated the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010; now he's raising questions about the safety of this drilling off our shores and talking about preparing an international plan to deal with a potential spill.

One problem, though: That requires having a conversation with Cuba.

Since our country doesn't even allow Cuban cigars, it's a long shot that we'd have productive negotiations on a cooperative safety protocol. So officials are going the route of international consensus, reports William Gibson of the Tribune company's Washington bureau. The International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency, will be hosting talks Friday in the Bahamas.

That archipelago nation has its own plans to move forward with drilling, which could eventually happen as close as 40 miles off the Fort Lauderdale coastline.

"Geologically, it's very exciting," Paul Gucwa, chief operating officer of Bahamas Petroleum, told Gibson. But Graham and other officials and experts are more cautious.

As oil reserves worldwide continue to diminish and methods to extract petroleum become more and more desperate, it seems the consciousness of drilling is creeping closer and closer to car-crazy South Floridians. Exploratory wells already exist in the Everglades, the Gulf Coast is affected by deep-water spills, and now cash-strapped Cuba and the tourist-heavy Bahamas are getting in on the game.

We finish with a useful quotation from Lt. Col. Allen West: "You know, someone's going to do the drilling... Wouldn't it be a shame if down the road we're going to China or Cuba or someone else for our energy resources that we allow to be taken from right under our noses?"

Stefan Kamph is a New Times staff writer.
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charles stewart
charles stewart

great news we can now get our oil from cuba or the bahamas take your pick and this will also put more pressure on the entire gulf to open it up i am tired of 3.30 gasoline per gallon.  We cant get our own government to help let the cubans and bahamas take the lead 


Lets leave the offshore oil for the Cubans and Bahamians.  They need the money, are smart enough to extract it and don't have the sniveling herd of nut-less nimbys busy trying to destroy the American economy.  Unfortunately for the econazis, screaming NOOOO doesn't stop everybody from using the resources of the planet.  Econonazis should be prohibited fro using any oil products. That should focus their tiny minds.

Lynn Anderson
Lynn Anderson

I agree with Allen West. He's one of the few politicians who make total sense. GO WEST!

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Good, then you and idiot West can pay for the coastal cleanup when one of these filthy wells explodes. The problem isn't so much supply as it is control. About 95% of the "American" oil running through the Alaska pipeline goes straight to the international market, not to U.S. refineries. Every time a bill is filed in Congress to open new areas for leases for oil drilling, Democrats add a proviso that all the new oil be used in America, but Republicans block it every single time. Republicans like West are mouthpieces and stooges for Big Oil, and anyone who supports him or them is a moron.


leave Canada out of this!! 

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Canada is in the same boat we are. International treaties require us to dedicate a certain portion of crude oil to the international market, regardless of where it comes from. Republican politicians running around chanting, "Drill, baby, drill," completely miss the point. All that would do is help Exxon/Mobil have another quarter with profits of $44 billion while we pay $4 a gallon. You want energy independence? Invade and occupy Saudi Arabia.

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