The Environmental Threat of Cuba’s Deep Water Exploratory Drilling Under the Embargo

By: Leo Oppenheimer

21st December, 2014

For the past decade, Cuba has permitted drilling offshore exploratory wells in the North Cuban Basin, just 60 miles from the United States’ coastline. As the Deepwater Horizon disaster made clear, offshore exploratory drilling can go disastrously wrong and the environmental consequences of a spill can be devastating. Unfortunately, the Cuban Embargo is creating several obstacles to working with Cuba to avert and respond to drilling related disasters. The scope of the environmental threat created by the Embargo is alarming. A spill in Cuban waters could have drastic impacts on fisheries, coastal tourism, recreation, and natural resources in both Cuba and the United States for decades. The purpose of this preliminary excerpt is to expose to the legal community some of the challenges created by the Embargo in the hopes of stimulating dialogue on this pressing issue.

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