Republican urges Obama to crack down on Cuban drilling plan

A Florida Republican congressman on Friday urged President Obama to take action against a proposed Cuban offshore oil drilling operation.

Rep. Vern Buchanan wrote the president, saying that he should stand in the way of the drilling plan.

Media reports this week said that Cuba is considering deep water oil drilling 50 miles from the Florida coastline as soon as next year. Buchanan said the plan could endanger the Gulf coast because a BP-like spill could occur.

"We want clean water and clean beaches," Buchanan told Tampa-based WTSP. "They're talking about drilling deeper than BP, which was 5,000 feet, and I have no confidence they will be able to drill safely at that level."

This year's BP oil spill, which occurred because of an explosion on a deep water rig, caused damage to the ecosystems in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and cost the state's fishing and tourism industries.

Buchanan is more skeptical of offshore oil drilling than his Republicans colleagues.

"If they had a spill, [it] would be up on our shores in a matter of three days," Buchanan said of the Cuban plan. "I was at the convention when they said, 'Drill, Baby, Drill.' It was awkward for me but the bottom line is that I don't agree with them. I think they're putting too much at risk in Florida."

But the congressman has also been a critic of the administration's response to the BP oil spill.

At a hearing this week, he said that the Obama administration should be more responsive to districts like his that were not hit by oil but suffered an economic decline because of it.