Governor Kate BrownPhoto by Todd Cooper

Gov. Kate Brown Announces Plans to Ban Offshore Drilling

Governor's executive order will protect Oregon's coast from Trump's drilling

President Donald Trump said that not only does he have a “natural instinct” for science, but he also wants the cleanest air and water, according to the Associated Press.

Gov. Kate Brown is helping Trump realize his dream by signing an executive order that permanently bans offshore drilling in Oregon. Oregon will now join California in resisting the Trump administration’s plan to dramatically expand drilling leases across 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf, which includes the entire West Coast.

“I’m tired of waiting for the federal government to come to their senses and realize that this is a terrible mistake,” Brown said in a statement. “This executive order will make it clear to oil and gas speculators that Oregon is not for sale. It will also provide certainty to the businesses on the Oregon Coast that depend on our natural landscape and our coastline for their livelihoods, providing good-paying jobs for working families.”

Brown was waiting on U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to issue a permit that would exclude Oregon from the Trump plans.

Today, Brown said “time’s up,” says Christian Gaston, Brown’s campaign spokesperson.

Oregon’s moratorium on offshore drilling, which was enacted in 2010 by former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, is currently set to expire in 2020. Brown’s executive order will address the uncertainty in the protection of Oregon’s coast from offshore drilling, Gaston says.

Brown announced that she would work with state Sen. Arnie Roblan, who’s working on legislation, and Oregon’s Coastal Caucus to pass legislation in 2019 to further strengthen protections from offshore drilling.

Brown previously told Eugene Weekly that Trump’s plan doesn’t make sense, especially since drilling near or on an active subduction zone could lead to antagonizing it.

“Oregon has one of the biggest fault lines. The Cascadian Subduction Zone is very large. It doesn’t make sense,” Brown says.

The details of the executive order will be ironed out and signed sometime next week that way there won’t be any gaps in protection from the moratorium that ends in 2020, which could open the door to possible oil speculation, Gaston says.

A 2016 report by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management shows Oregon and Washington’s coast has a potential of 810 million barrels of oil off its coastlines. However, that might not be tempting for an oil company, especially since Southern California has 6.7 billion barrels of potential oil.

Polls show that Brown has a five-point lead over Republican candidate Knute Buehler — she leads 40 percent to 35 percent. However, the poll has a four percent margin of error. So, it’s still a close race.

Signing this executive order is an important step to remind Oregonians that Brown will fight for the state’s environment because this isn’t a “playground for oil speculators,” Gaston says.

Brown’s executive order will join California in opposing Trump’s offshore plans. In September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed two new laws that ban the State Lands Commission from approving permits for new wharfs, piers, pipelines and other facilities anywhere in the state’s waters along the California coast.

California state Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson of Santa Barbara said in a statement that she opposed Trump’s offshore drilling plans because the Santa Barbara coastline is all too familiar of oil spilling. Santa Barbara had one oil spill in 1969 and another in 2015. The company that was responsible for the latter spill, Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, was found guilty of charges this September. Its spill was linked to killing deaths of sea birds and marine mammals when about 3,400 barrels of crude oil were released.

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