U.S. plans for possible Cuban oil spills

Jan. 30, 2012 at 4:07 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Researchers at two Florida universities say they've created a plan to prepare South Florida for any oil spills from proposed drilling off the coast of Cuba.

Researchers at Nova Southeastern University and Florida International University said the proximity of intended Cuban oil drilling and production puts the U.S. coastal zone from Florida to the Carolinas and northward at risk from any potential spills.

Oil from a spill would quickly enter the Gulf Stream and reach Florida's shores in hours or days with potentially devastating effects on the South Florida coastline and its coastal ecosystems, they said.

The conceptual plan for response to a spill calls for a partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard, other federal agencies, and a consortium of South Florida academic institutions and private industry, a Nova Southeastern release said Monday.

It urges an oil spill early warning monitoring system using acoustic, geophysical, satellite and other relevant methods.

The plan was presented Monday in Miami to the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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