Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday continued her fight to keep Oregon offshore areas free of oil drilling.
Last week, the Trump administration revealed a proposal that would open up previously protected areas to offshore drilling for oil. The five-year plan is the largest expansion of offshore drilling in U.S. history, making 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf available for exploration and development. That area includes the Oregon, Washington and California coasts.
While in Florida on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that after talking with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, he was removing Florida from the offshore oil drilling proposal.
“I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement on Tuesday. “As a result of discussion with Governor Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.”
In response to Zinke’s proclamation, Gov. Brown tweeted to Zinke, “how about doing the same for Oregon?”
Brown was one of several Oregon public officials last week to blast the Trump administration’s plan.
“I am appalled that our president would move contrary to Oregon values, frankly contrary to West Coast values,” Brown said after the proposal was announced.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats, have also opposed oil drilling off the West Coast.
When announcing the proposal, Zinke said the new oil drilling sites would be a national economic driver.
“Responsibly developing our energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf in a safe and well-regulated way is important to our economy and energy security, and it provides billions of dollars to fund the conservation of our coastlines, public lands and parks,” Zinke said.
Ali Ryan Hansen with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries said exploratory attempts to drill off the Oregon Coast in the 1960s were unsuccessful.
“Really the bottom line for Oregon is offshore drilling is pretty unlikely. It's a really complex geologic environment and also past drilling really hasn't turned up the amount of oil and gas you'd need to make an economic go of any kind of offshore drilling,” said Hansen. “[It’s] far more complicated than it is in other places.”
The Trump administration is planning to have public meetings around the country between January and February. They will begin on Jan. 16.
In Oregon, the meeting will be held on Feb. 6 in Salem, from 3-7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, located at 3301 Market Street NE.
In Washington, the meeting will take place on Feb. 5, from 3-7pm at Tacoma’s Landmark Catering and Convention Center located, at 47 St. Helens Avenue.
KGW's Christine Pitawanich and Tracy Loew with the Salem Statesman Journal contributed to this report.
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