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FL - Bahamas Oil Well Could Affect Florida's Coasts

Despite an ongoing ban on offshore oil drilling off the coast of Florida, an upcoming exploratory drilling project in the Bahamas could pose a significant risk to Miami's beaches, environmentalists say.

Tomorrow, a vessel called the Stena IceMAX, operated by the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), is set to begin drilling an exploratory well off the shore of the Bahamas to search for pockets of oil. That would be the first well in a series of five the company plans to drill around the Bahamas.

But a number of environmental groups, including the nonprofit Waterkeeper Alliance, have cited concerns about a potential spill.

"Offshore drilling is inherently risky and inherently dirty," says Marc Yaggi, executive director for the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network that advocates for clean water.

Yaggi tells New Times his organization fears the BPC project has the potential to become the next BP oil spill, which occurred when an oil rig exploded in 2010, causing an exploratory well to release enormous amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, where some reached Florida's shores and killed droves of marine life.

Reached by New Times via email, a spokesperson for BPC sent a link to the company's environmental page, which states that the drilling project plan meets all guidelines, Bahamian laws, and international standards.

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