News Releases

In new Medium post, Senator Murray shares compilation of photos from social media followers showcasing beauty, utility of Washington state’s coasts after Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement expanding offshore oil & gas drilling in nearly all U.S. continental waters

Healthy coastal waters promote positive public health outcomes and support vital Washington state industries, including $50 billion dollar maritime economy and 191,000 maritime related jobs

TOMORROW: Interior Department holds only public meeting in Washington state to receive comment from local residents on proposed oil & gas leasing expansion

Senator Murray: Trump Administration must hear “loud and clear” what Washingtonians have been saying for decades: “extreme dangers posed by offshore oil and gas drilling are too great a risk for Washington state families”

ICYMI: Call and response: Images of NW waters worth protecting – Everett Herald [LINK]

On January 12, Senator Murray received hundreds of replies in response to her call for photos on social media for Washingtonians to tweet their personal photos from the coast to illustrate their value and urge the Interior Department to remove Washington state’s continental waters from consideration for offshore oil & gas drilling.

***SEE SENATOR MURRAY’S MEDIUM POST AND PHOTO GALLERY HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – In advance of the Interior Department’s only public meeting in Washington state to hear comment from local residents on its recently announced proposal to open nearly all of the United States’ continental waters to offshore oil and gas drilling, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reiterated her strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s misguided priorities and called on Secretary Zinke to listen to decades of public input from Washington state residents and reverse course on their plan that could threaten the state’s economic and ecological health. In a new Medium blog post, Senator Murray recounted the robust response to her recent social media call to action prompting users to tweet out photos of Washington state’s coasts as further evidence of Washingtonians’ disapproval of the potential environmental, economic, and public health hazards posed by offshore oil and gas drilling:

“I was inspired as I scrolled through the growing collection of photos illustrating the significance of our coasts, not just to our economy and environment but to our shared culture and identity…[t]he catalog of pictures mounting on social media served as a powerful reminder of how invaluable our healthy coasts are to our state’s character and future—and put the Trump Administration on notice. As the Interior Department hears public comment on its proposal from Washington state residents, I hope they hear loud and clear what Washingtonians have been saying for decades: the extreme environmental and ecological dangers posed by offshore oil and gas drilling are too great a risk for Washington state families.”

Senator Murray has long supported strengthening investments to protect Washington state’s ecologically-sensitive coastal waters and last week joined a bicameral, bipartisan group of 16 Pacific Northwest lawmakers in a letter to Secretary Zinke calling for the removal of the Washington/Oregon planning area from the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. Previously, Senator Murray introduced legislation to permanently prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling on the outer continental shelf off of Washington, Oregon, and California.

See more photos from Senator Murray’s call to action HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s Medium post HERE and below:

Washingtonians don’t take our healthy coasts for granted. The continental waters on the West Coast are one of Washington state’s richest and most cherished natural resources, sustaining communities along the Pacific Northwest for centuries and helping define our regional culture for generations. Many of us count on our coasts for our food or for work: Washington state’s coasts are home to numerous seafood and tourism-dependent communities, supporting a $50 billion dollar maritime economy and 191,000 maritime related jobs. Likewise, countless families and travelers seeking outdoor recreation flock to our shores throughout the year to experience the natural beauty and sport of our iconic shorelines.

Keeping our Washington state shores pristine isn’t just about leisure and cosmetics?—?preserving our coastal waters is a critical factor in promoting a healthy regional ecosystem and economy that supports vital jobs, industries, fish and wildlife, and public health opportunities that many families in our state rely on.

That’s why I was shocked when Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the Trump Administration’s plans to draft and implement new oil and gas leasing guidelines that would expand access to offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all of our nation’s continental waters, including coastal waters off Washington state. Despite years of fact-finding and public input that has already established the need to protect ecologically-sensitive areas like our coasts, once again President Trump and his cabinet have decided to prioritize Big Oil and the relentless pursuit of profit over the interest of Washington state families and without regard to what it may mean for our environment, public health, or economy. I was even more appalled when it was reported that Secretary Zinke was planning to remove Florida’s waters from consideration after meeting with their governor and hearing his pleas—a courtesy that was not extended to Washington state.

So later, on my way back home from the other Washington and concerned about the potentially damaging impacts of Secretary Zinke’s decision on Washington state’s ecosystem, I asked my Twitter followers to join me in sending a message to the Interior Department to let them know that our healthy coasts are too important to our environment, economy, and culture to risk harmful oil and gas drilling by sharing photos of some of Washington state’s many important and pristine coastal areas.

The response was overwhelming.

Within hours, my timeline was filled with photos of beaches and coasts all along Washington state’s shoreline, and even photos from other coastal areas in the Pacific Northwest, from residents across Washington state and throughout the region who want their pristine coasts preserved and were eager to raise their voices to safeguard our coasts.

Even some of my Senate and House colleagues tweeted out photos from their state’s waters being threatened by this short-sighted offshore drilling proposal.

I was inspired as I scrolled through the growing collection of photos illustrating the significance of our coasts, not just to our economy and environment but to our shared culture and identity. Our shores are where we fish, swim, exercise, and work, but also where our wildlife roams, our children play, and where we make lasting memories with our loved ones. The catalog of pictures mounting on social media served as a powerful reminder of how invaluable our healthy coasts are to our state’s character and future—and put the Trump Administration on notice. As the Interior Department hears public comment on its proposal from Washington state residents, I hope they hear loud and clear what Washingtonians have been saying for decades: the extreme environmental and ecological dangers posed by offshore oil and gas drilling are too great a risk for Washington state families.

In all, I received literally hundreds of pictures from passionate and concerned Washingtonians, each one recalling the many reasons it has been decades since the waters off the coast of Washington have been considered for oil and gas leasing. It is not too late for the Interior Department to reverse its decision to expand offshore oil and gas drilling and instead focus on maintaining and strengthening existing regulations protecting the country’s continental waters. As we’ve learned over the last year, we must make our voices heard again and again to ensure that this Administration backs down from this misguided proposal—and as a voice for Washington state in the United States Senate, I will continue fighting against the Trump Administration’s efforts to leverage our environment to boost Big Oil’s bottom line and will never stop standing with families, workers, and small businesses to protect our coasts.

Today, and for future generations.