Commissioner of Public Lands Speaks Out Against Offshore Drilling

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Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has asked the Trump Administration to withdraw its proposal to expand offshore drilling. 

“Given the danger offshore drilling poses to our environment and economy, I do not foresee how any proposal to use our aquatic lands to service offshore wells is in the best interest of Washington,” Franz’ letter reads. “Our public lands and waters belong to all of us. They are not assets to be plundered, leaving Washingtonians with the mess.”

The state Department of Natural Resources manages 2.6 million acres of public aquatic lands, including submerged lands up to three miles from the coast, where federal jurisdiction begins. 

Franz sent a letter on the subject Thursday to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke expressing her opposition to the plan and concerns about the effect of an oil spill on the Washington coast.

“I urge you to withdraw your proposal to open our continental shelf to oil and gas leasing, and provide Washington with the same exemption you provided the state of Florida,” Franz wrote. 

Earlier this month, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson threatened to sue the federal government over the offshore drilling plan unless Washington is given an exemption. In addition to many of the state’s Democratic leaders, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has also spoken out against the plan for additional offshore drilling.

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