January 05, 2018

Kilmer Statement on Trump Administration Decision to Open Nearly All Offshore Waters to Drilling

TACOMA, Wash. – Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced it will open nearly all offshore federal waters to oil drilling. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) voiced his opposition to the plan.

“For decades, Democrats and Republicans have agreed that opening our waters up to drilling would be shortsighted and wrong.  Doing so could threaten our fisheries, shellfish growers, tourism, and jobs in other key sectors of our economy.  Rather than doubling down on fossil fuels and policies that put the health of our coasts and of our climate at risk, our nation should be focused on expanding efforts around renewable energy,” Rep. Derek Kilmer said“Becoming more energy independent – with a particular focus on renewables – will not only conserve our natural resources, but will also safeguard our economic and national security interests. I encourage the public to voice their opposition to this decision during the upcoming public comment period.”

Last week, the Trump Administration announced it would roll back safeguards implemented by the Obama Administration in response to the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The disaster was the largest accidental oil spill in U.S. history.

In May, when the Trump Administration announced plans to study the action it announced today, Representative Kilmer joined more than 100 other members of Congress in a letter to formally oppose it. The letter, which was addressed to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, pointed out that oil spills caused by underwater drilling have the potential to devastate the Pacific Northwest’s economy. 

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote: “On the West Coast, tourism and fishing support 560,000 jobs and support a $26 billion economy. Importantly, these are sustainable industries, able to support jobs and regional economies indefinitely into the future provided our oceans and coastlines are managed smartly.”

Full text of the letter is available here.