Oregon Governor Joins Other States in Offshore Drilling Ban

Credit: Don Ryan/AP.
In this 26 January 2017 file photo, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to media representatives in Salem, Ore. Brown has issued an executive order blocking offshore drilling.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order on 25 October blocking offshore drilling, joining several other states trying to shield themselves from the Trump administration’s plan to drill for oil and gas off the US coast.

The order directs state agencies to protect Oregon’s coastal economy by preventing activities associated with offshore oil and gas drilling. It comes as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to expand offshore drilling and has scrapped an Obama-era policy to protect oceans and the Great Lakes, replacing it with one emphasizing economic growth.

Brown, a Democrat, sought a federal exemption for Oregon but has not received one, unlike Florida’s Republican governor.

Brown said her executive order will make it clear to oil and gas speculators that Oregon is not for sale. States control 3 miles of ocean closest to shore. To deter drilling further offshore, the executive order prevents the development of any infrastructure associated with drilling.

Oregon’s coast supports 22,000 jobs in a $2 billion tourism and recreational industry and provides more than 5,500 jobs in a $320 million commercial and recreational fishing industry, Brown noted. It is also vulnerable habitat for plants and animals that could be decimated by an oil spill.

Her order comes a day after US regulators announced approval of the first oil and gas production wells in federal Arctic waters. A conditional permit has been issued for the Liberty Project, a proposal by a subsidiary of Houston-based Hilcorp for production wells on an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea.

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