Inslee says talk with Zinke over offshore drilling plan didn’t go as well as hoped

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee said that he spoke to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday regarding the Trump administration’s offshore drilling plan, but failed to get a commitment that Zinke would consider giving Washington state the same exemption he recently gave Florida.

“I spoke with Secretary Zinke today and reiterated my opposition to his offshore oil drilling proposal. I told him the concerns of Washingtonians and West Coast residents deserve to be treated with the same consideration and deliberation as those in Florida,” Inslee said in a statement.

“Secretary Zinke did not provide that commitment, unfortunately. But his fight is far from over. We will continue advocating for Washington to be removed from the plan. We stand ready to provide any additional information about our coastline’s pristine natural beauty and the economic backbone it provides for communities. This offshore drilling proposal is a serious threat to one of our state’s greatest assets, and we will continue to fight this proposal as long as it takes.”

Inslee joined California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in condemning the plan last week that would open up both coasts of the United States to oil drilling platforms.

Inslee’s office said the Interior Department will hold a public meeting in Tacoma on Feb. 5 to take comments regarding the offshore drilling proposal.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Oregon Gov. Brown says Zinke has agreed to consider exempting Oregon from the offshore drilling plan

Spokesman Bryan Hockaday says this happened after Brown spoke on the phone with Zinke on Friday at Brown’s request.

Brown asked for the same consideration for the Oregon Coast as was given Florida, which was exempted from the offshore drilling plan after the Republican governor there complained.

Hockaday said Zinke agreed with concerns about the economic risks that offshore drilling could bring to Oregon, and committed to work with Brown and visit the state as part of a process to consider exempting Oregon from the offshore drilling plan.