January 09, 2018

Merkley, Wyden Shred Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Reversal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with more than 30 of their colleagues, today sharply criticized the Trump administration’s decision to reopen offshore drilling leases three years ahead of schedule. This decision puts vast stretches of coastline in the Arctic and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts at risk, including in Oregon.

“This draft proposal is an ill-advised effort to circumvent public and scientific input, and we object to sacrificing public trust, community safety, and economic security for the interests of the oil industry,” the Senators wrote today in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke led by Merkley. “We urge you to abandon this effort and maintain the protections outlined in the current 2017-2022 plan.”

The Trump administration’s decision to push a rewrite of the existing 2017-2022 offshore drilling plan has wasted valuable taxpayer resources and ignored extensive community input that went into the original plan. In many locations across the country, public input urged strong protections against drilling, as coastal communities that rely on commercial fishing and tourism for their economies feared the impacts that drilling and the potential of spills could have on their ecosystems, businesses and jobs.

In addition to Merkley and Wyden, the letter was signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

The full text of the letter is here.