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No plans to drill offshore, but Oregon legislators move to extend ban

Legislators are considering a law to restrict any drilling in Oregon's ocean region for oil and gas. The industry says there is little chance any drilling would occur anyway.

Oregon legislators this year want to permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the Oregon Coast although no one has shown an interest in poking a hole in the coastal floor.

Despite a call from the Trump administration last year to open up the waters, the industry itself has no serious interest in exploring or extracting oil and gas under the Pacific off Oregon.

“At this time, there is not a lot of chomping at the bit to look at production off the coast of Oregon,” said Kevin Slagle, a spokesman for Western States Petroleum Association.

Oregon’s first moratorium on drilling took effect in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Since then, state legislators have renewed it every decade, said Brian Doherty, a Portland attorney who lobbies at the Capitol for the petroleum association.

Senate Bill 256 - sponsored by three coastal legislators - would make the moratorium permanent.

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