OR, WA coastal leaders pushing back against Trump administration - KPTV - FOX 12

OR, WA coastal leaders pushing back against Trump administration plans for offshore drilling

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Advocates of coastal fishing and tourism industries gathered Thursday to fight back against offshore drilling, saying the practice was not welcome in Oregon and Washington.

The controversy renewed recently with President Donald Trump's proposal to open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to offshore oil drilling, a plan drawing a lot of backlash.

Senator Maria Cantwell met with leaders of the coastal community in Vancouver to send a clear message to both the president and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke - keep your hands off our coast.

They claim that In Washington state alone, oyster farms, crabbing, fishing, tourism and other related industries are already supporting a $50 billion maritime economy, creating nearly 200,000 jobs.

When it comes to off-shore drilling, they worry that any accident could be catastrophic, pointing to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster as an example of what can go wrong.

"The ecological stewardship point in our community is so vital to the success of our farms that one oil spill could literally devastate the entire estuaries in which we farm," Kathleen Nisbet-Moncy with Nisbet Oyster Company explained. “The Gulf shellfish industry was completely devastated with the last oil spill that happened, and to allow something like that to happen in our coastal community is absolutely absurd.”

"The BOEM leasing plan for Washington and Oregon is ill-conceived, it is reckless and carries risks we do not want to take, we do not need to take, and we must not take," Larry Thevik, president of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen's Association, added.

Cantwell and a bipartisan group of 15 other lawmakers from the Pacific Northwest wrote a letter to Zinke calling for Washington and Oregon to be taken off the table as possible drilling sites.

The Interior Department is holding a public meeting on the issue in Tacoma on Monday.

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