OLYMPIA, Wash. - Dozens of people told Trump administration officials to back off plans to drill for oil off of Washington's coast.
The comments came at a hearing by the Interior Department Monday afternoon. “No offshore drilling in Washington,” said Ruchi Stair from Seattle, “No way.”
Citing concerns about the impacts of oil spills, members of the general public, hotel owners, shellfish and fishing business owners and elected officials went on the record opposing the proposal.
“If they (the federal government) follow through with this idea,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, “The state of Washington will sue.”
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is traveling the country taking public input.
Chief Environmental Officer Bill Brown said the hearings in California and Oregon had the same tone: the public didn’t like the proposal either.
“B.O.E.M. is not here to advocate,” said Brown, who said the proposal is far from being a done deal.
The bureau hopes to release an environmental impact study, which would include the public’s testimony, by the end of the year.
Brown said testimony from states on the Gulf of Mexico have been more supportive of expanding offshore drilling than on the West Coast.
“We welcome it. We didn’t come out here to talk to ourselves. People feel strongly, that’s fine. That’s America,” said Brown.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is taking public comment on the proposal until Friday, March 9.