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.
“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 bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote. "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 said. “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.”
Previous News Guard coverage posted at 8 a.m. Feb. 1
OFFSHORE DRILLING / UPDATE: National summer march
On Saturday June 9, World Oceans Day weekend and the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season, the March for the Ocean (M4O) campaign will mount mass marches, flotillas and rallies in our nation’s capital and around the country.
People will be mobilizing to stop reckless offshore oil drilling being pursued by the Trump administration and to promote job-generating clean energy, to call for large-scale reduction in plastic waste that is killing ocean wildlife and to promote protection and restoration of our coastlines in the face of rising seas and intensified hurricanes like last year’s Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Everyone is encouraged to ‘Wear Blue for the Ocean’ and to ‘March for the Ocean’ on June 9.
More than 70 M4O partner organizations have enlisted to support this effort to unite at a moment of crisis and policy failure to #MarchForTheOcean and to promote a Healthy Ocean and Clean Water for All.
The growing chorus of supporters includes environmentalists, scientists, surfers, boaters, divers, fishermen, artists, filmmakers, social justice activists, small businesses, major aquariums, deep-sea explorers, students, parents, teachers and citizen activists - everyone who gets so much from our ocean, lakes, and rivers- coming together to give something back.
“Next summer we will see a new wave of resistance – and appreciation - for the other 71 percent of our environment that is the ocean,” said David Helvarg, Chair of the M4O Steering Committee and Executive Director of Blue Frontier Campaign, an ocean conservation and policy group working with other M4O partners including the Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, Plastic Pollution Coalition, the National Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and many more (for the full list of march partners to date go to www.marchforocean.com).
“Our coastal lifestyles and economies rely on a healthy coastal environment,” Surfrider Foundation CEO Chad Nelsen said. “Clean water, beach access, healthy beaches and a thriving ocean are worth fighting for.”
March for the Ocean endorsers and participants include:
- Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue
- Philippe Cousteau, Earth Echo International
- Bill McKibben, 350.org
- Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Earth Guardians
- Wyland - marine artist
- Ralph Nader - consumer activist
Action plans include a flotilla of boats and kayaks on the Potomac River, interactive exhibits, a 91-foot life-sized blue whale, and a march and rally in Washington, D.C. Sister cities’ marches across America will include Boulder, Colorado; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Tucson, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Cairo, Georgia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Honolulu, Hawaii, and many more underway.
The Ocean is Rising and So Are We!
For more information go to: www.marchforocean.com
Watch the M4O youth video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT3iCSDZmiFBafphhz4A5fA
Follow M4O on our Facebook Page, Twitter and Youtube. #MarchForOcean #M4O #OceansAreRising #SoAreWe