U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today criticized the Obama Administration's lack of action to prevent the Cuban regime from partnering with the Spanish energy firm Repsol to drill for oil off the Cuban coast. Repsol's Scarabeo 9 oil rig arrived in Cuban waters today, and it is anticipated that drilling will begin in the coming days. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"At the same time the Obama Administration is rejecting the job-creating Keystone Pipeline project with our democratic ally Canada, it has done nothing to prevent the Cuban regime from moving forward with plans to start drilling for oil off the Cuban coast. The combined result is that Americans will miss out on new jobs, while the Cuban regime -- a state-sponsor of terrorism -- will bag a financial windfall.
"Cuba's oil drilling scheme endangers both our environment and our national security. In order to prevent a possible environmental tragedy, and the further enrichment and empowerment of the Cuban dictatorship, my colleagues and I in Congress have introduced two pieces of legislation designed to stop this scheme.
"I have authored the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Act (H.R. 2047), which sanctions those who assist the Cuban regime in the development of its petroleum sector. My colleague from South Florida, Representative David Rivera, has introduced the Foreign Oil Spill Liability Act (H.R. 3393), designed to increase the liability cap and penalties faced by foreign countries if an oil spill reaches U.S. shores, and make that an even higher level for state-sponsors of terrorism.
"Instead of standing in the way of American energy projects, the Obama Administration must take action to prevent Cuba's dangerous oil scheme from moving forward."