Speaking Up for Nature: Opposing Offshore Oil Leasing

Together with our Oregon chapter, The Nature Conservancy in Washington submitted a comment letter this week opposing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s proposed program to lease waters off the Pacific Northwest coast to oil and gas companies.

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is taking public comment on this proposed program until this Friday, March 9. We invite you to learn more and add your voice to ours and half a million others who have weighed in on this program by visiting the comment page at regulations.gov.

Our opposition to oil and gas leasing in new National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas is grounded in science, the economics of our region and local communities, and the ecological resources and risk, as well as the relative lack of oil and gas resources off our coast.

Our marine and coastal resources are precious to us all: they support one of the largest fisheries (by volume) in the continental U.S., thousands of jobs in commercial and recreational fishing, and billions of dollars in tourist revenue for our states’ rural economies. Washington’s four coastal treaty tribes rely heavily on marine resources for income, quality of life and cultural reasons.

 Marine resources in the Pacific Northwest support one of the largest fisheries (by volume) in the continental U.S., alongside thousands of jobs. Photo by Erika Nortemann.

Marine resources in the Pacific Northwest support one of the largest fisheries (by volume) in the continental U.S., alongside thousands of jobs. Photo by Erika Nortemann.

The importance of our coast to those of us who live here is reflected in the laws and policies we support locally: both Washington and Oregon have moratoria on offshore oil and gas development in state waters, and dozens of communities have passed resolutions opposing offshore leasing and exploration.

The Nature Conservancy and our members have invested millions of dollars in Pacific Northwest coastal restoration for the good of nature and people.  We love and cherish our waters, our 914 miles of coastline, and the millions of seabirds, fish, crab, and marine mammals that share our home.

We have requested that BOEM remove our region from consideration in its proposal, and we urge you to make your voice heard too.

Join us in speaking up!  Submit your comment before Friday, March 9 at 9pm Pacific time.