MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: NO NEW OFFSHORE DRILLING IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTOn - Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro), and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) are urging Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to protect the Pacific Ocean from dangerous activities by the oil and gas industry. In a letter cosigned by 36 of their colleagues, the members say Zinke should exclude all new Pacific Ocean lease sales from any future offshore drilling plan.
The Pacific Ocean and the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington are home to vital ecosystems that support fishing and tourism industries. California’s costal economy generates $662 billion in wages and $1.7 trillion in gross domestic product. Ocean tourism and recreation in Oregon and Washington generate more than $16 billion in economic activity, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and are substantial drivers of the states’ economies.
Under the 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Program, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) decided not to include any new lease sales in the Pacific Ocean. Trump administration officials have made it clear they intend to revise that offshore drilling plan and expand oil and gas drilling.
“As you conduct a review of our nation’s existing oil and gas leases, we again strongly urge you to reject proposals to open the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington to new offshore areas to drilling and exploration,” wrote the lawmakers.
“The Pacific coast has great potential for wind, tidal and wave energy development. Instead of new offshore drilling leases we should invest in alternative renewable energy development effort,” they added.
Moreover, the Pacific Ocean provides habitats for a wide variety of endangered and threatened species. Significant federal, state, and local resources have been expended to protect these species and improve the health of state fisheries.
“The Pacific coastline is far too important to the people, environment, and economies of California, Oregon, and Washington, to put it as risk through new offshore oil and gas drilling,” the lawmakers also wrote.
In addition to Reps. Barragán, Huffman and Lieu, the letter was cosigned by Representatives: Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ); Alan Lowenthal (D-CA); Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Adam Smith (D-WA); Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Earl Blumenauer (D-OR); Kurt Schrader (D-OR); John Garamendi (D-CA); Mike Thompson (D-CA); Doris Matsui (D-CA); Jerry McNerney (D-CA); Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA); Barbara Lee (D-CA); Jackie Speier (D-CA); Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA); Jimmy Panetta (D-CA); Salud Carbajal (D-CA); Brad Sherman (D-CA); Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA); Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA); Mark Takano (D-CA); Scott Peters (D-CA); Keith Ellison (D-MN); James P. McGovern (D-MA); Joseph Crowley (D-NY); Betsy McCollum (D-MN); Anthony Brown (D-MD); John Yarmuth (D-KY); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Jim Langevin (D-RI); Jared Polis (D-CO); Ruben Gallego (D-AZ); A. Donald McEachin (D-VA); and, Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI).
THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER CAN BE FOUND HERE