State plans on fighting offshore drilling proposal

Washington state is threatening to sue the federal government if the state is not removed from plans to open up offshore oil drilling.

If the federal government follows through on a proposal to allow offshore oil drilling, it can plan on a fight from Washington State.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Monday, the same day the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management initially intended to hold, but ultimately postponed, a public meeting in Tacoma about the offshore drilling proposal.

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Zinke announced plans last month to greatly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, including multiple areas where drilling is now blocked. The plan was immediately met with bipartisan opposition on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Inslee has already asked Zinke to remove Washington, along with the entire Pacific coastline, from a list of proposed sites for potential offshore oil and gas drilling.

"We intend to use all the tools we are constitutionally allowed," said Governor Jay Inslee, D-Washington.

He said in addition to litigation, the state might take steps to make it more difficult for oil companies to operate off the Washington coast.

"We would have the right to have certain taxation policies that might make it not attractive for these companies," said Inslee.