Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus and a Member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, is applauding the passage of two bipartisan bills to permanently safeguard coasts from oil and gas drilling.
“Our ocean sustains life on this planet, and to protect it we must end our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy economy,” Bonamici said. “Offshore drilling contributes to the climate crisis and causes irreparable damage to coastal ecosystems and communities. The bills we passed today will help prevent our ocean from being exploited by those who want to advance dirty energy sources that destroy habitat, emit toxins, and produce greenhouse gases."
Bonamici said because marine and land ecosystems are connected, access to clean air and clean water depends on a clean and healthy ocean.
"We’ve seen the devastating consequences of pollution from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which is still recovering almost a decade later," she said. "History shows that where we drill, we spill. We cannot afford that risk in the Pacific Ocean, which is already facing a marine heat wave, ocean acidification, harmful algal blooms, and other consequences of climate change."
According to Bonamici, banning offshore drilling is one step to safeguard the ocean and help it heal from climate-related threats.
"The ocean has tremendous potential to be part of the climate solution as a blue carbon sink, a source of renewable energy, a safe haven for vulnerable species, and a sustainable source of healthy foods," she said. "In this era of the climate crisis and ocean degradation, offshore drilling is the wrong choice. We can protect the ocean from the risks of drilling permanently if the Senate fulfills its responsibility to act on these important bills. I’ll continue to advocate for investing in clean energy, and I’ll always stand up to Trump’s fossil fuel agenda.”
Bonamici is a cosponsor of the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support. It would place a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. She also supported the passage of the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act to place a permanent moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, the U.S. House will consider the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, which will repeal the provision of the Republican’s 2017 tax bill that allowed oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Bonamici co-chairs the House Oceans Caucus, a bipartisan group of House Members committed to taking action to protect the health and future of the ocean.
She has spoken out repeatedly against the Trump Administration’s efforts to open up the Pacific Coast to offshore oil and gas drilling. She is the only member from the Pacific Northwest serving on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Last March, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 256 (SB 256), which indefinitely extends Oregon’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling in state marine waters (0 to 3 miles from shore) and prohibits activities or new infrastructure that would support oil drilling in federal waters offshore Oregon (3 to 200 miles from shore).
The legislation built on a wave of drilling opposition from coastal communities. In the past year, the cities of Port Orford, Newport, Lincoln City, Toledo, Yachats, Gold Beach and Portland, the Siletz Tribal Council and the Ports of Toledo and Newport have passed resolutions against the federal drilling proposal.
The Pacific Coast has been closed to new drilling for decades, with the last federal lease sales taking place in 1984. According to the National Ocean Economics Program, tourism, recreation and fishing along Oregon’s coast generate over a billion dollars per year and support 25,000 jobs.