Gov. Inslee demands Trump administration not drill off Washington coast

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

But Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke singled out only Florida, which Trump won in 2016, for an exemption after meeting Republican Gov. Rick Scott at the Tallahassee airport. Now Gov. Jay Inslee wants the same consideration for Washington's offshore waters. Providing all of our states with the same exemption from unsafe 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 request that our states also be immediately exempted from any new oil or gas leases as a part of this plan.

Hockaday said Zinke agreed with concerns about the economic risks that offshore drilling could bring to OR, and committed to work with Brown and visit the state as part of a process to consider exempting OR from the offshore drilling plan.

In the statement on your decision to remove Florida, you indicated that President Trump had directed you to reestablish our country's offshore oil and gas leasing program in a way that "takes into consideration the local and state voice".

The plan follows Trump's executive order in April encouraging more drilling rights in federal waters, part of the administration's strategy to help the US achieve "energy dominance" in the global market. Of Scott, Zinke said in his announcement that he is a "straightforward leader that can be trusted". "Wonder why." Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted.

In Washington, they include Democratic Sens. Zinke said the Florida decision, which critics denounced as a partisan favor for the state's Republican governor, came as a result of local opposition and because its scenic coastline drives tourism.

Inslee's office said the Interior Department will hold a public meeting in Tacoma on February 5 to take comments regarding the offshore drilling proposal.

When asked what caused the administration to change its position on Florida drilling, Zinke said bluntly, "The governor".

The draft plan now under development would run from 2019 through 2024. "There has been no drilling off the Pacific Coast for three decades".

But within the lease sale area off the Washington and OR coasts, the estimated recoverable oil reserves are a modest 400 million barrels of crude, according to an Interior Department document released last week.

It is still unclear how much industry interest there would be in offshore drilling in the area when there may be many other more promising areas to explore offshore or known reserves to develop onshore.

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