Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, tweeted this photo of the beach at La Push, on Washington state’s coast, as one example of scenic beauty worth protecting from any potential offshore oil drilling-related ecological disasters. (Maria Cantwell / Twitter)

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, tweeted this photo of the beach at La Push, on Washington state’s coast, as one example of scenic beauty worth protecting from any potential offshore oil drilling-related ecological disasters. (Maria Cantwell / Twitter)

Call and response: Images of NW waters worth protecting

Sen. Murray asks northwesterners to show why their shores should be exempt from oil drilling.

Plans from the Trump administration to expand offshore oil drilling drew a sharp rebuke from Washington’s governor, and U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

On Friday morning, Murray tweeted out a call for photos to show Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, “… why our waters are worth protecting, too.”

Within a couple of hours, it drew more than 150 replies, almost 200 retweets and 400+ likes. Many of the photos showed pristine shorelines, bright sunsets, seaside homes and abundant wildlife, from La Push to Westport.

As reported Jan. 4 by the Associated Press, Zinke said the five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies. That includes a proposed 47 leases — six of which would be off California’s coast — off the United States’ coastlines from 2019 to 2024. Zinke said the Department of the Interior had not finalized the plan.

“This is a draft program,” Zinke said. “Nothing is final yet, and our department is continuing to engage the American people to get to our final product.”

Even as a draft, Democratic and Republican leaders on both coasts were seeking exemption from the plans. Gov. Jerry Brown of California said he would block the action. Florida Gov. Rick Scott met with Zinke shortly after the draft was published, and apparently successfully convinced him to remove Florida from the plan.

Here in Washington, such a deal was met with cautious optimism by Gov. Jay Inslee, who said, “Washington wants out of the offshore drilling plan too…” On Thursday, Inslee sent a letter formally asking for Washington to be removed from the offshore drilling plan. In his letter, he cited Washington’s national-leading shellfish industry, “robust fishing and shipping economic sector” and “significant” U.S. Navy presence. He also referred to prior oil-related ecological disasters in 1988 and 1991.

Also Thursday, Inslee went on CNN to speak with Wolf Blitzer about his request to President Donald Trump and Zinke. Inslee described coastal states’ responses as a “bipartisan revulsion against what happened here, because both Democrat and Republican governors — 15 have objected this — six Republicans…” Inslee also made a remark about Trump having an obligation to protect all beaches, “and not just protect places where you happen to have a golf course with a beach around it.”

All of this led into Friday’s Tweetstorm via Sen. Murray. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, was one of the first replies with a photo of La Push, on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, got in on the liberal-leaning party, too.

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