Gov. Inslee wants Washington removed from drilling plan

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Bipartisan opposition is growing to President Trump's proposal to greatly expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

An executive order signed in April called for federal lease sales to include new parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and some of the Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska "as appropriate and consistent with applicable law". Initially the Interior Department moved to allow offshore oil and gas drilling in almost all of the United States' coastal waters, but then announced it has dropped plans to open up the waters off the coast of Florida, following fierce opposition by Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott.

The governor, a close ally of Trump, frequently visits the president and lunched with him less than two weeks ago at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach.

Merkley, Wyden and the Senators requested exemptions for their states, too, writing: "Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies".

Inslee says Washington's tourism, shellfish industry, and military installations would all be compromised by off-shore oil drilling. Instead of focusing on short-term benefits for oil and gas companies, our country should be looking toward a clean energy future.

"We put effort into making sure we have the most pristine environment in the world", said Scott. Additionally, commercial fishing is a major economic driver along the coast, supporting more than $500 million in personal income in Oregon.

Coastal Democrats from California to NY are blasting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for what they view as a political and arbitrary decision to. In a press call, Virginia's junior U.S. Senator Tim Kaine also made the same request, and is not taking "no" as an answer.

"The Trump administration's decision to allow enhanced exploration, leasing and development within the Outer Continental Shelf, previously closed to such activities, prioritizes home-grown energy production", said Congressman Johnson.

In response to the plan, Louisiana's United States Congressman, Mike Johnson, released the following statement. "I am appalled and disgusted that the man who stands as the symbol of a nation once offering refuge and sanctuary to all immigrants is doing his best to say: 'non-whites need not apply.' Governor Scott needs to denounce these remarks immediately on behalf of the people of Florida". In addition to Florida, the states of Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Washington have all opposed new leases off their coasts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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