Democratic News

Apr 28 2017

WATCH: Cantwell Calls On Trump Administration To Protect Coastlines From Unlawful Offshore Oil Drilling

Senator Presses President Trump To Reverse His Short-Sighted Order

Download broadcast-quality video of Sen. Cantwell’s floor statement here.

Watch Sen. Cantwell’s floor statement on YouTube here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today addressed the Senate about the Trump administration’s executive order that may allow unlawful offshore oil and gas drilling in protected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf, which could include the Pacific Coast and Washington state.

Senator Cantwell said, “The President's approach is unlawful and should be withdrawn before taxpayers pay any amount of money to go forward with it. He is attempting to open up coastal areas to oil and gas production.”

In addition to wasting taxpayer dollars on a doomed approach, this executive order threatens jobs in the U.S. fishing, tourism, and recreation industries that are thriving.

Cantwell continued, “President Obama had put a large portion of the Arctic and dozens of underwater canyons off the East Coast permanently off-limits to drilling during his time in office, using his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. And in the finalized offshore oil and gas leasing program, the Obama administration removed West Coast, East Coast and Arctic waters to oil and gas exploration. Why did he do that?

He did that primarily because a maritime economy of 148,000 jobs and $30 billion in economic impact in many of these parts of the States couldn't afford to be devastated again from oil spills or exploration into ecologically sensitive areas like the Arctic. I believe the Atlantic region was rightly removed due to strong local opposition, conflicts with other ocean uses, market dynamics. The Department of the Interior recognized the potential environmental and economic impacts competing for our ocean uses. The economic value of commercial fishing in just the mid-Atlantic region is worth more than $1.5 billion and the ocean-depended tourism for more than $10 billion in the Atlantic region.”

“I can tell you if this rule includes the West Coast, there will be strong opposition from the state of Washington, the state of California, and the state of Oregon where we are so dependent on healthy oceans and sustainable fisheries. We hope to clarify that that's not in. But if it is, the West Coast will speak loudly from our fisheries and shellfish, our vibrant commercial and recreational fisheries.”

Watch the video of Sen. Cantwell’s floor statement here.