Trump offshore drilling plan announced in late January would see federal waters off nearly every state opened to oil and gas drilling.  Getty Images photo by David McNew.  

Trump offshore drilling plan not “in the best interest of Washington”

A Washington state official argues the permitting of pipelines or other oil and gas infrastructure on state-managed land proposed in the Trump offshore drilling plan will not benefit the Evergreen State.

In the letter to the US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, wrote “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.”

“We didn’t invite you here, and we don’t want you here,” she said.

Speaking with Reuters, Franz said she hopes the letter sends a clear message to the Trump administration.

In response, the Interior Department said it is in the process of developing the five-year program and a final draft would be made available to the public for comment and review by coastal governors and the US Congress before completion.

Washington joins California in publicly announcing they will work to stymie the expansion of offshore drilling by wielding their permitting powers to deny crude transportation permits.

Opposition by the two states will create a barrier to the Trump plan that impacts about two-thirds of the mainland US west coast.

Franz says the office of the State Commissioner of Public Lands will use its authority over ports and shipping terminals to impede crude oil from being transported to shore by floating storage of offloading tankers.

Hilary Franz is hoping the letter will discourage offshore oil and gas near her state before it starts.

“The more they have that information up front, the more we prevent them from wasting their time and energy,” Franz told Reuters.

Most coastal state governors have pushed back against the Trump offshore drilling plan to varying degrees.

According to Reuters, most have written letters, posted on social media or met with Zinke to ask to be exempted from the plan entirely.  Soon after the plan was announced, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott was able to get an exemption for his state while the other requests remain unanswered.