OLYMPIA — The governors of California, Oregon and Washington sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewel on Thursday to stress that they don’t want the possibility of drilling off of the West Coast.
The Interior Department is developing an updated plan for its Outer Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, and the governors formally stated their opposition to the inclusion of any oil or gas lease sales off the coast as part of any new plan.
Govs. Jay Inslee, of Washington; Jerry Brown, of California; and John Kitzhaber, of Oregon, wrote that their three states “represent the fifth-largest economy in the world” and their ocean-dependent industries contribute billions of dollars to the region each year.
“While new technology reduces the risk of a catastrophic event such as the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, a sizeable spill anywhere along our shared coast would have a devastating impact on our population, recreation, natural resources, and our ocean and coastal dependent economies,” they wrote.
The governors, all Democrats, also stressed a commitment to develop a strategy to combat climate change.
“Oil and gas leasing may be appropriate for regions where there is state support for such development and the impacts can be mitigated,” they wrote. “However, along the West Coast, our states stand ready to work with the Obama Administration to help craft a comprehensive and science-based national energy policy that aligns with the actions we are taking to invest in energy efficiency, Oil and Gas Leasing Program alternative renewable energy sources, and pricing carbon.”
Inslee spokesman David Postman said that while there aren’t any current plans for West Coast leases, the governors want to ensure there aren’t any in the new plan.