Washington and Oregon lawmakers hope to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to protect local economies.
Sen. Jeff Merkley and Congressman Peter DeFazio, both Oregon Democrats, drafted a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management asking that the agency instead focus on clean technologies along the Washington and Oregon coasts — such as wave, tidal and wind energy generation.
The letter was signed by 12 other members of Congress, including Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, and congressmen Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larson, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith, all of Washington.
“Assurances of safety and environmental protection mean nothing when one incident has the potential to utterly devastate our coastal economy and ecosystem. There is nothing to be gained by leasing the waters off the Pacific Northwest coast for oil and gas leasing; there is only tremendous and unnecessary risk,” the letter reads.