Congressman Rivera: This is an Opportunity for the Obama Admin to Prevent Oil Exploration by a Terrorist State



For Immediate Release

March 22, 2011

Congressman Rivera: This is an Opportunity for the

Obama Admin to Prevent Oil Exploration by a Terrorist State

Miami, Fla.- Congressman David Rivera (FL-25) received a briefing Monday along with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) from the United States Coast Guard on Cuba’s Proposed Offshore Oil Drilling.

The briefing was given by Rear Admiral William Baumgartner of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District.

Rear Admiral Baumgartner updated Congressman Rivera and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen on the state of Cuban offshore oil exploration.  The Castro regime has begun to lease oil exploration blocks off Cuba’s northern coast and drilling may begin as early as Fall 2011 or early 2012.

The U.S. Coast Guard has plans in place to mount an immediate emergency response in the event of an oil spill, which could affect Florida’s waters within one to three days of an incident.

“There is no longer a question of if, but a question of when Cuba will start drilling for oil.  Some of the drilling sites could be as close as 50 miles from the coast of Key West.  This is an opportunity for the Obama administration to strengthen Helms-Burton and prevent oil exploration by a terrorist state,” Rivera said following the briefing.

Rivera is co-sponsoring a bill sponsored by Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13) that aims to prevent the Castro regime’s plan of building a deepwater oil rig 50 miles from the coast of Florida.  If passed, the bill would deny leases and permits to companies that do business with foreign governments that are subject to sanctions or embargoes from the U.S. government.

Currently, Cuba is having an oil rig built by Repsol, a Spanish oil and gas firm that currently has oil rigs in the Western Gulf of Mexico near Texas and Louisiana.

Following the briefing, Rear Admiral Baumgartner wrote a letter to Congressman Rivera thanking him for visiting the Seventh Coast Guard District Headquarters office and taking a keen interest in the Castro regime’s proposed offshore oil exploration and the contingency plans in place in the event of a spill.

“Protecting the marine environment from accidental oil and chemical spills is a key mission of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Therefore, the Coast Guard must maintain contingency plans that are ready to be activated in the event incidents occur that may pose a substantial risk to our marine environment,” Baumgartner wrote.  “As a result of the proposed  North Cuba Basin oil exploration, the Coast Guard is updating plans required to ensure that we are ready to address a potential discharge from drilling off the coast of Cuba that could potentially impact U.S. waters. “

Rear Admiral Baumgartner’s letter is attached.