Oregon governor says Zinke told her offshore drilling isn’t ‘lucrative’ there

Oregon governor says Zinke told her offshore drilling isn’t ‘lucrative’ there
© Greg Nash

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeEnergy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills MORE told her that oil and natural gas drilling off her state’s coast wouldn’t likely be cost effective.

Brown relayed the conversation to HuffPost, saying it happened during an in-person meeting regarding Zinke’s proposal to allow drilling along the entire Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

“He told me that the return on investment is not very lucrative for offshore drilling, off of Oregon and Washington coasts,” Brown told the news outlet.

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“The return on investment is not good. We know that.”

Brown said Zinke also told her that offshore drilling near Oregon is made riskier by the location of the nearby Cascadia subduction zone fault, where drilling could trigger earthquakes.

“That’s what’s different about the western coast,” she said.

Zinke did not promise to take Oregon’s waters out of the Trump administration’s extensive offshore drilling plan, the governor said. But the conversation is nonetheless likely to increase the hopes of opponents in the state, including Brown.

Zinke gave a similar comment in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday when Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellPartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Senators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Poll: Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade MORE (D-Wash.), the panel's top Democrat, asked about taking Washington state out of the plan.

“You should know off the coast of Oregon, Washington, most of California, there are no known resources of any weight,” he said.

“And again I put everything on so we could have a dialogue and then take what's appropriate off. I think I'm going to mark down Washington as opposed to oil and gas drilling,” he continued, again declining to commit to taking any area out of the plan.