Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior stating her opposition to oil and gas drilling off of Washington’s coast on Feb. 15.
The Department of Natural Resources manages 2.6 million acres of public aquatic lands, including submerged lands from the coast out to three miles, where federal jurisdiction begins.
Any company seeking to drill off of Washington’s coast would likely seek approval for pipelines, cables, or other oil and gas infrastructure to cross state-owned aquatic lands.
Franz’s letter makes clear that any use of state-owned aquatic lands must be in the best interest of Washington state.
“Given the danger offshore drilling poses to our environment and economy, I do not foresee how any proposal to use our aquatic lands to service offshore wells is in the best interest of Washington,” Franz said. “Our public lands and waters belong to all of us. They are not assets to be plundered, leaving Washingtonians with the mess.”
In January, the Trump administration released the 2019-2024 draft plan to drill for oil and gas in U.S. waters.
Commissioner Franz’s submitted her letter to Secretary Zinke and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is accepting public comments on the draft plan.