Today, a bi-partisan group of Oregon Senators and Representatives introduced a bill (SB 256) that will safeguard natural resources, communities, and local economies by banning offshore oil and gas drilling in the state’s territorial sea (0-3 miles from shore). Specifically, the bill repeals the sunset date of the existing offshore drilling moratorium—set to expire in 2020—and prohibits activities, like building new infrastructure, within state marine waters that would support oil drilling farther offshore in federal waters.
“Oregon won’t jeopardize our treasured Pacific coast to the risks associated with dangerous offshore oil drilling activities now or ever,” said Ben Enticknap, Oceana’s Pacific Campaign Manager and Senior Scientist. “The inherent risks of oil spills and chronic oil leaks are too great for the health of our oceans and the future of our coastal communities, fisheries and economy. Oceana applauds the overwhelming leadership by lead sponsors Senator Arnie Roblan, House Representatives David Gomberg and David Brock Smith, who, along with 19 other lawmakers have introduced this bill to stand up for Oregonians and our coast.”
Many coastal states are taking direct legislative action in response to a new 5-year (2019-2024) offshore oil and gas leasing program proposed by the federal administration. In September 2018 former California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 834 and AB 1775 which prevent the California State Lands Commission from approving new infrastructure in state waters to help guard against federal proposals to expand offshore drilling for the first time in three decades.
A wave of opposition to new offshore oil and gas drilling has swept across the West Coast since the release of President Trump’s April 2017 Executive Order calling for the re-evaluation of offshore oil potential in all U.S. ocean waters. Residents, municipalities, and businesses have taken a strong stance to protect their communities, coastlines, and economies from the risks inherent with risky and dangerous offshore drilling activities. Five Oregon communities and three ports in the state have formally opposed offshore oil and gas drilling off the state. Additionally, 110 Oregon businesses have joined the Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast—the leading business voice opposing offshore drilling on the shared belief that the unnecessary risks of offshore drilling is not in the best interests of employees and customers and threatens the viability of our local economies.
The Oregon coast is a major draw for both tourists and locals – lined with rugged bluffs, secluded beaches, and vibrant coastal environments that support important recreation, education, and fishing opportunities. A catastrophic spill like the 1969 Santa Barbara blowout off California is too great a risk to Oregon’s healthy ocean resources and thriving coastal economies. In Oregon, fishing, tourism, and recreation alone support more than 38,000 jobs and generate roughly $1.9 billion in GDP every year.
For more information on the broad West Coast opposition to expanded offshore oil drilling click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With over 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit usa.oceana.org to learn more.