OLYMPIA, Washington — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a letter on Monday to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to allow oil and gas drilling off Washington’s coast and asking that Washington be exempted.
If Washington is not removed from the plan, Ferguson warns Zinke he will file a lawsuit.
“As a fourth-generation Washingtonian, I know this part of my state very well,” Ferguson writes in his letter. “Twenty years ago, I spent a week hiking from the Hoh River north to Shi Shi Beach. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Washington State’s coast is a special place, and it deserves protection.”
Ferguson also says that Washingtonians took an estimated 4.1 million trips to Washington’s coast in 2014, generating $481 million for Washington’s economy — and that commercial fishing and seafood processing added another $117 million that year. Washington’s coast is also vital to coastal communities and tribes, says Ferguson, and home to diverse and unique ecosystems.
The attorney general believes that oil and gas exploration would put all of this at risk.