Prospect of Cuban drilling irks lawmakers

May 5, 2006 at 5:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) -- Two U.S. lawmakers from Florida have filed legislation to stop Cuba from drilling for oil near the Florida Keys.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said their bills aim to deny visas to any employees of a company or entity that "contributes to the development of Cuba's oil-exploration program."

It would also impose sanctions on individuals or companies who invest $1 million or more to help Cuba develop its oil and natural gas resources, the Miami Herald reported Friday.

"My colleagues and I have been working tirelessly to prevent our own companies from ruining Florida's pristine beaches and delicate ecosystem by exploring and drilling for oil off our coast," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "To now have this murderous and totalitarian regime say it wants to drill just 45 miles from Key West is beyond the pale and totally unacceptable."

Lacking the technology for offshore drilling, the Cuban government has entered into agreements with several companies in foreign countries, including Spain, China and Canada.

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