As early as November, exploratory wells will be drilled off the Northwest coast of Cuba by Chinese and Spanish companies, mere miles from the Florida Keys. This could mean a myriad of potential issues if a spill were to occur. Offshore oil drilling is banned in Florida, but an accident in Cuban waters would undoubtedly affect the U.S. coastline. The Environmental Defense Fund organized a meeting with Cuban authorities and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly to discuss solutions for emergency preparedness in light of trade sanctions. Reilly, who co-chaired the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission, left optimistic of Cuba's commitment to responsible drilling, and is hopeful that exemptions to the current trade sanctions will be granted. In 2010, EDF received a two-year $200,000 grant to improve cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba on natural resource management and protection. Stories about this issue appeared on NPR and in The New York Times, among other outlets.

Conservation & Sustainable Development, Conservation, Latin America