Pacific Northwest
Statesman Journal

Permanent offshore oil drilling ban OK'd by Oregon lawmakers

SALEM (AP) — Oregon state lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a permanent offshore oil drilling ban as the Trump administration forges ahead with a plan that could open up the Pacific coast for petroleum exploration and extraction.

The House voted 47-8 to prohibit drilling and exploration in the state's marine waters, extending a temporary 10-year ban that was set to expire next year. The measure already passed the Senate and will be sent next to Gov. Kate Brown. Brown, a Democrat, has previously spoken out against offshore oil drilling and has pushed for strong climate protections in the state.

"For generations, Oregonians have defended the environment," said Sen. Arnie Roblan, a Democrat who sponsored the initiative, in a statement. "Any oil drilling off the Oregon Coast could destroy the things we love in the state of Oregon — our pristine public beaches, and the local industries like fishing and tourism that drive our coastal economy."

U.S. states can ban drilling up to 3 miles offshore but the bill seeks to limit drilling in federal waters farther out by prohibiting state agencies from assisting with offshore oil extraction. Brown previously enacted an executive order banning that activity.

The move comes as the federal government finalizes a plan to open up nearly all federal waters for oil exploration and drilling. An initial draft released in October identified dozes of potential oil leasing sites off the Pacific coast, including one off the coast of Oregon and Washington state.

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