Washington State may use land lease controls to impede offshore oil plan

Washington State is considering blocking land leases and certain other land usage agreements in an effort to hinder plans for expanded offshore oil and gas drilling, according to Reuters.

Numerous coastal states have reacted negatively to January’s announcement from the Department of the Interior (DOI) that it wants to increase oil-rights leases off every US coastline – Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Arctic.

Now Washington’s State commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has written to DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke saying that pipelines or other oil or gas infrastructure would be allowed on state-managed land only if it can be proven to be in the “best interest of the state”.

Last week California officials said they would deny permits for pipelines in a bid to handcuff drilling off of the Golden State’s shores.

In mid January, Secretary Zinke said the state of Florida may get exemptions from unfettered offshore drilling and that prompted a flurry of claims from almost every coastal state asking for their own exemptions.

Almost all states’ objections concern the potential for environmental disaster and damage to commercial activities such as fishing and tourism.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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