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NW bipartisan group to Secretary Zinke: Hands Off Our Coast

February 5, 2018

Merkley, Wyden, DeFazio, Schrader, Bonamici, Blumenauer to Secretary Zinke: Hands Off Our Coast

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

Bipartisan group of lawmakers strongly opposes oil and gas production off the coast of the Pacific Northwest

Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer today joined a bicameral, bipartisan group of 16 Pacific Northwest lawmakers in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calling for the Oregon and Washington coasts to be removed from Interior’s offshore drilling plan.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote, “We write to express our strong opposition to inclusion of Pacific Northwest waters in the Trump Administration’s National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. The states of Washington and Oregon have made clear through local, state, and federal action, as well as extensive public comment, that oil and gas lease sales off the Pacific Coast are not in the best interest of our economies or environment.”

In addition to the Oregon Senators and Representatives, the letter was signed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA).

Oil drilling and exploration off the Pacific Northwest coastline or an oil spill from drilling anywhere along the Pacific coast poses a devastating threat to the fishing, shellfish, and tourism industries at the heart of Oregon’s and Washington state’s economy. In 2016, the tourism industry in Oregon directly employed nearly 110,000 Oregonians and visitors spent over $11 billion in the state. Additionally, commercial fishing is a major economic driver along the coast, supporting more than $500 million in personal income in Oregon.

“There is a reason it has been decades since the waters off the coasts of Washington and Oregon have been considered for oil and gas leasing,” the lawmakers continue. “Voluminous existing information documents the lack of oil and gas resources; absence of oil and gas industry interest; strong state and local opposition as expressed through laws, goals and policies of affected states; other uses of the waters to support our coastal economies that conflict with oil and gas activities; and extreme environmental and ecological risks.”

 

A copy of the letter is available below.

###

The Honorable Ryan Zinke

Secretary, U. S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke:

We write to express our strong opposition to inclusion of Pacific Northwest waters in the Trump Administration’s National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. The states of Washington and Oregon have made clear through local, state, and federal action, as well as extensive public comment, that oil and gas lease sales off the Pacific Coast are not in the best interest of our economies or environment. The Department of the Interior’s proposal to consider drilling off the states we represent, absent stakeholder support and directly contradicting economic and environmental factors of the region, is a waste of time, government resources, and taxpayer dollars.

The importance of marine resources to our regional economy and the level of local opposition to offshore oil and gas development cannot be overstated. The coasts of Washington and Oregon are home to numerous seafood and tourism-dependent coastal communities. Washington state supports a $50 billion dollar maritime economy and 191,000 maritime related jobs. Oregon’s commercial fisheries contributed over $500 million in personal income to the state in 2016, with an economic impact of more than $2.1 billion. In Oregon, coastal tourism alone generates $1.9 billion in revenues and supports over 20,000 jobs. An oil spill off our shores would jeopardize jobs in commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries, employment in the seafood processing industry, a robust tourism and recreation economy, a historic shipbuilding industry, and the clean water required for critical regional and international trade and transportation routes.

There is a reason it has been decades since the waters off the coasts of Washington and Oregon have been considered for oil and gas leasing. Voluminous existing information documents the lack of oil and gas resources; absence of oil and gas industry interest; strong state and local opposition as expressed through laws, goals and policies of affected states; other uses of the waters to support our coastal economies that conflict with oil and gas activities; and extreme environmental and ecological risks.

From healthy beaches serving as tourism hubs on the coast, to the 3,188 square mile pristine Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, protecting our sustainable marine resources is a priority for our states. As you finalize the Draft National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, we urge you to remove the Washington/Oregon planning area.

Thank you for your attention to this matter which is of the upmost importance to our constituents.

Sincerely,

 

 

  
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Discuss this article

tim smith February 7, 2018

Merkley, Wyden, DeFazio, Schrader, Bonamici, Blumenauer ???? What is bipartisan about this from Oregon?? these are all a bunch of far -far left enviro-hacks who could care what is good for working people in Oregon!!! Wyden is nothing more than a successful carpetbagger and Merkley and DeFazio are traitors to their heritage and to oregon’s natural resource industries, Shame on them all.

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