U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and a group of 21 U.S. Senators representing coastal states have told the Trump Administration that they don’t want oil and gas drilling off their coasts.
The group of senators want the same treatment recently given to Florida, which was granted a special exemption by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke earlier this week.
In a letter sent to Zinke Thursday, Murray and her colleagues requested that their states be immediately exempted from any new offshore oil or gas leases.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced a controversial plan to dramatically expand drilling leases across 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf, including the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and parts of the Arctic Ocean.
Secretary Zinke then talked with Florida’s governor and took the offshore drilling expansion off the table for federal waters off the coast of Florida without any public hearings or input, stating: “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.”
The Trump Administration denied that Florida received a special exemption because President Trump owns property along the state’s coastline.
In their letter, the senators requested an immediate exemption for their states too, writing: “Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm’s way.”
“We urge you to honor the commitment of this administration by listening to the local and state voices that we represent and to respect their overwhelming opposition to oil and gas drilling off our coasts,” the senators continued. “Instead of focusing on short-term benefits for oil and gas companies, our country should be looking toward a clean energy future. We hope we can work with you to protect our natural resources, our environment, and the livelihoods of coastal residents so that they remain for future generations.”
Murray said she strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s offshore drilling plan, and said it is bad for the environment and public health and could devastate coastal economies in Washington state and across the country.
Last January, Murray introduced legislation to permanently prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling on the outer continental shelf off of Washington, Oregon and California.