Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cuba at risk in Gulf oil spill (Updated)

Typically, we Americans figured that Cuba might screw up and our beaches might be contaminated by a mistake in their oil drilling program.

“No one really imagined that Cuba would be on the receiving end,” the Environmental Defense Fund’s Dan Whittle told the Herald, now that the Gulf oil spill – an American screw-up – has entered the Loop Current, putting Florida and Cuba at risk.

The network of scientists from the United States, Cuba, and Mexico that has been working on Gulf protection (background here and here) is now exchanging information and preparing for the worst. The organization 1planet1ocean has set up a web page with links and resources and another that gives the latest maps and assessments of the extent of the oil spill.

And according to the Herald, the State Department says that “low, technical level” contacts have taken place between U.S. and Cuban officials. Which sounds like code for, “We’re just exchanging maps and data, not talking about policy.” But it’s progress.

Update: From ABC News, regarding talks with Cuba:

According to Gordon Duguid, a spokesman for the department, the talks are ongoing and said there is no word yet as to their outcome.

“It is incumbent upon us to inform all of our neighbors, not just the islands, but those countries that could be affected by disasters that happen within our territorial waters,” Duguid said.

“We have had working level discussions with the Cuban government to keep them informed of developments,” a State Department official said later, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss ongoing diplomatic engagements.

“We provided background related to the cause of the spill, stressed that stopping the oil leak is our top priority, and explained the projected movement of the spill as it was known at the time of the communication. We also communicated US desire to maintain a clear line of communication with the Cuban government on developments,” the official added, saying the US had delivered a diplomatic note to Havana on the matter today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if there is damage to cuban coastline or beaches, is there a mechanism in place for the government to make claim against BP, or the US govt itself?