Offshore Drilling

US Senators have introduced a new bill in a bid to prohibit offshore drilling permanently on the outer continental shelf of California, Oregon and Washington.

The new West Coast Ocean Protection Act, introduced by senators Maria Cantwell, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect the $44bn coastal economies of the three states.

Initially, the legislation was introduced in 2010.

The new legislation states that "The secretary of the interior shall not issue a lease for the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas in any area of the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of the State of California, Oregon or Washington."

Cantwell said: "We must protect our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems against the risk of an oil spill.

"We must protect our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems against the risk of an oil spill."

"In addition, the threat of seismic activity along the Cascadia subduction zone increases the probability of a catastrophic oil spill in the Pacific north-west.

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Boxer said: "More than half a million California jobs and more than $34bn in annual economic activity depend on a pristine coastline, and we owe it to current and future generations to protect our coast from a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

According to Feinstein, offshore drilling carries real risks, and an accident would be catastrophic for California’s environment and economy.

The senators also said that offshore drilling could put the state’s economy at risk and the latest bill will ensure that Oregon’s coastline is protected for generations to come.

Image: The offshore bill was first introduced in 2010. Photo: courtesy of num_skyman/