This month, the Trump administration proposed opening 90% of US waters to offshore drilling between 2019 and 2024. That’s right — if this plan becomes law, the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Eastern Gulf coasts will all be up for grabs by Big Oil.
One oil spill along the Washington coast poses a devastating threat to our coastal communities and our state economy. It would only take one major spill to decimate our native salmon runs and push Southern Resident orca whales to the brink of extinction. We should not risk another disaster so that we can subsidize a dirty and outdated energy source.
We don’t have to choose between a vibrant national economy and clean, safe and healthy local environments. We can have both.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is accepting comments on this proposal until March 9. Go online to send your comment to BOEM asking for energy policies that protect communities and our shared resources.
Dear Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief, National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch, BOEM:
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the “2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program” (Draft Proposed Program). As a Washington resident, I am opposed to the opening of Washington’s coastal waters to offshore drilling.
Dirty and dangerous offshore rigs and drilling are a risky business that puts out-of-state Big Oil profits over local jobs, health and safety. The risks of oil spills, tarred beaches and wildlife, and toxic pollution is real and consequential. An oil spill along the Washington coast would affect not just the lives of coastal birds, mammals, and fish, but also the fishing economies and small towns that rely on tourism and recreation. Our coastal tribes depend on a healthy marine ecosystem for their culture and way of life. Fishing, tourism and recreation are major drivers of our coastal economy especially those of the Makah Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Hoh Tribe, and Quinault Nation who have forged inseparable ties to the ocean environment.
Coastal visitors spend an estimated $481 million dollars per year on recreation and tourism trips while fishing generates more than $9 million annually for the Quinault Nation alone. It would only take one major spill to decimate our native salmon runs and push Southern Resident orca whales to the brink of extinction.
Offshore drilling companies have demonstrated time and time again that there is no safe way to drill for oil and gas in a marine environment. While the Gulf of Mexico is trying to recover from the massive BP oil spill, it continues to be plagued by constant small-scale oil spills, including the Taylor Energy oil leak that has been ongoing since 2004 and which the company claims cannot be stopped. How can the federal government propose allowing more offshore drilling when we already know that it cannot be done safely?
This proposal to open up Washington’s waters to offshore drilling should be rejected. I urge BOEM to instead focus on the protection of our coastal waters, economies, and way of life for all Americans.