Washington's ocean resources provide recreational opportunities, maintain cultural identities, and support a stunning array of wildlife. They support many different uses that benefit the economies of nearby communities as well as the entire state. Washingtonians depend on ocean resources, now and into the future.
It is important for Washington to protect, understand, and manage these ocean resources. We are working with partners across the state to solve critical issues facing these resources and coastal communities. We provide community assistance, collaborate on ocean management, and lead and guide ocean planning and policy.
We oppose allowing offshore oil drilling on Washington's coast
Our Director, Maia Bellon, has submitted an official response opposing the U.S. Interior Department's proposal to allow offshore oil and natural gas leasing on Washington's outer continental shelf for the first time in 30 years. The draft plan indicates the federal government would allow companies to engage in oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities.
These proposed activities would put one of the world's most highly productive marine ecosystems at risk, especially from oil spills and hazardous chemical releases. Our Pacific Ocean coast is also at risk from catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, inclement storm events, and hastening climate change.
The draft plan threatens our coastal communities and the thousands of residents who depend on having a healthy, productive coastal environment. Washington's coast encompasses significant tribal cultural, environmental, and economic treaty-protected resources. We have a paramount duty to protect tribal treaty rights.
Offshore leasing activities simply do not meet our state's vision for a sustainable, prosperous future. We cannot afford to put our coastal fishing and shellfish aquaculture, tourism and recreation, international maritime shipping, and military training activities at any further risk.