Whatever the Obama administration tries to do, they’ll be drilling for oil in the waters off Florida, just as close to the coast as the Deepwater Horizon was to Louisiana.
It’s just that Cubans, not Floridians, will be collecting the lease money.
It’s not clear what U.S. or Florida officials could do to stop oil exploration in Cuba. The U.S. controls coastal waters up to 200 miles from its shores, but under a 1977 treaty it agreed to divide the Straits of Florida equally with Cuba. That means Repsol can drill a deepwater well about the same distance from Key West, Fla., as the Deepwater Horizon was from the Louisiana coast.
Not only are the oil fields close to Florida’s shore, but they’re also right in the current that sweeps north along its coast. If there’s ever an accident there, the oil will reach Miami much more quickly than the BP spill reached the coasts.