Merkley Blasts Reopening of Offshore Drilling Plan

Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced its intention to reopen and possibly reverse parts of the Interior Department’s 2017-2022 offshore drilling plan, which protects the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from offshore drilling:

“Today’s news is the clearest signal yet that this administration is determined to do the bidding of the oil and gas industry, regardless of whether their preferred policies have any benefit for the American people.

“Reopening offshore drilling in the Arctic would be the height of irresponsibility. In the Arctic’s remote and dangerous conditions, responding effectively to a drilling accident or oil spill is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible.

“There is no reason to put lives and entire ecosystems at risk just to extract oil that will intensify climate disruption.

“Further, this decision threatens the way of life for countless communities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, including those in Oregon. These communities spoke loud and clear during the development of the initial plan: They don’t want offshore drilling that will diminish tourism, harm commercial fishing operations, and burden them with the risk of a potential oil spill.

“With climate disruption continuing to accelerate, it’s time for the Trump Administration to stop listening to special interests, and start listening to the millions of Americans who are calling on us to act on climate and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Merkley is the author of the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, legislation that would permanently protect the Arctic from offshore drilling, and the Keep It in the Ground Act, landmark legislation that would end new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters.