Inslee requests feds remove state from offshore drilling plan

Joins coastal, tribal and conservation leaders in opposition to Trump Administration’s plan

Gov. Jay Inslee today formally requested the Trump Administration remove Washington state from plans to open waters off our coast to oil and gas drilling. The governor reiterated his request for an in-person meeting with Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, as well as his invitation for the secretary to visit Washington state.

At an event in Olympia today, organized by Surfrider Foundation and a coalition of other organizations, Inslee joined Attorney General Bob Ferguson and other elected officials, coastal, tribal and fishing industry representatives to highlight Washington’s commitment to protecting a fishing, tourism and recreation economy worth billions of dollars from oil spills and pollution.

Inslee and Ferguson were joined by Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, Gina James from the Quinault Indian Nation and Chad Bowechop from the Makah Tribe, Crystal Dingler, mayor of Ocean Shores and Larry Thevik of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association. Ferguson warned that he would file a lawsuit on behalf of the state if the exemption is not granted.

L — R: Attorney General Bob Ferguson; Gus Gates, Surfrider Foundation; Gina James, Quinault Nation Business Councilmember; Larry Thevik, vice president of the Dungeness Crab Fisherman’s Association; Gov. Jay Inslee; Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands; Crystal Dingler, mayor of Ocean Shores; and Chad Bowechop, manager of Office of Marine Affairs, Makah Tribe. (Office of the Governor photo, February 5, 2018)

“This plan threatens the health, safety and economic prosperity of our beautiful coastal communities,” Inslee said. “That’s why we are committed to doing everything in our power to make sure that Washington’s waters remain protected from offshore drilling.”

The governor’s letter to Zinke also reinforced his strong opposition to drilling off our state’s coast and urged Zinke to treat all states, including Washington, equitably. Last month, the secretary announced the Trump Administration would exempt Florida from new offshore drilling based on opposition from its state and local leaders, its unique coastlines and its heavy reliance on tourism as an economic driver — all standards that also apply to Washington.

Inslee’s letter reads in part, “I have stated unequivocally that opening the Pacific Coast to new oil and gas drilling for the first time in decades poses grave danger to our state’s unique recreation, tourism, shipping, military and fishing industries, threatening thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue each year.”

Click the image to read the full letter

The letter follows earlier outreach to the Trump Administration on offshore drilling plans, including a joint letter with California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and a phone call in which Inslee voiced his concerns to Zinke.

Last week, every member of the state’s Congressional delegation representing coastal communities — from both parties — sent a letter expressing opposition to the Trump Administration’s plan.

“We are here today to tell the Administration they have got it wrong, and all Washingtonian who care about protecting our coastlines and our coastal economies need to share their opinions on this proposal,” Inslee said. “We cannot allow our pristine natural coastlines to be sacrificed for the benefit of oil and gas interests.”

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