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Drilling off Cuba and Alaska, Drilling Safety and the Carbon Experiment - 5.22.11

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Published on May 21, 2011

Our top story this week: The quest for more oil. President Obama has announced new plans to expand domestic oil drilling, although in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, he insists on stringent safety measures. Anchor Thalia Assuras looks at his plans.

Meanwhile, Cuba announces it will begin drilling for oil this year in the Gulf of Mexico, just 60 miles from the Florida keys. Can it be done safely? Thalia travels to Trinidad for a rare Cuban appearance at a U.S. sponsored oil conference, where the plans are detailed. She talks to Cuba's "Grandfather of Oil," who insists that the country has the know-how to drill safely in deep water. But others, including a Florida International University professor, worry that the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba will prevent the necessary response to a catastrophic spill. Next up, Correspondent Dan Goldstein explores what planned offshore drilling in Alaska might mean to the remote town of Point Hope, whose indigenous Inupiat people count on an annual whaling expedition to feed the entire town for a year. Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill for billions of gallons of oil beneath the Beaufort and Ckukchi Seas, and the revenue could help bring Point Hope into the 21st Century - paying to renovate its recreation center, build roads and modernize buildings. Then, on "The Mix," Anchor Thalia Assuras joins Rayola Dougher, senior economic advisor for the American Petroleum Institute, Anna Aurilio, federal director of Environment America, and Daniel
Whittle, Cuba program director at Environmental Defense Fund, to discuss President
Obama's plans to speed up onshore and offshore drilling, as well as the economic and
environmental implications of Cuba's offshore drilling push. This week's "Energy Then" comes from 1969, when Scotland unveiled the world's first self-propelled, oceangoing drilling vessel, the Offshore Mercury. The rig could travel 7,000 without replenishment, an advancement that the Scots said would revolutionize deep sea drilling.

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