NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Even Republicans like Mark Schoesler oppose drilling for oil off of Washington’s coast

Years ago, back when Jon Stew­art was still the face of Com­e­dy Cen­tral, The Dai­ly Show aired a seg­ment in which Stew­art joked that the mas­cot of the mod­ern-day Repub­li­can Par­ty was not an ele­phant, but rather a por­trait of Jesus drilling for oil. That joke has aged extreme­ly well, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing Ryan Zinke’s dec­la­ra­tion this week that he wants to give oil com­pa­nies free rein to drill off both coasts.

While it may appear that the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s love of the oil indus­try and its desire to extract, refine, and burn every last drop of black gold has no lim­it (even if our com­mon home, the Earth, is destroyed in the process), it turns out there are a fair num­ber of Repub­li­cans who just aren’t com­fort­able giv­ing the oil indus­try unchecked per­mis­sion to plun­der and pil­lage Amer­i­ca’s nat­ur­al resources.

That includes Repub­li­cans who aren’t con­sid­ered to be the slight­est bit green.

Take Mark Schoesler, the top Repub­li­can in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate.

Schoesler — who is now the cham­ber’s Minor­i­ty Leader fol­low­ing Man­ka Dhin­gra’s win in the 45th Dis­trict — is as right wing as they come in Wash­ing­ton State, and was rec­og­nized last year by Tim Eyman as one of his key allies in the state­house.

Nev­er­the­less, Schoesler is among those who oppose Zinke and Trump’s uncon­scionable scheme to open Wash­ing­ton’s waters to oil drilling.

Schoesler said unequiv­o­cal­ly today dur­ing City­Club’s 2018 Leg­isla­tive Pre­view that he does­n’t sup­port drilling for oil off of Wash­ing­ton’s coast in response to an audi­ence ques­tion, to the sur­prise of many in the room.

Mark Schoesler speaking at CityClub

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mark Schoesler speaks at City­Club’s 2018 Leg­isla­tive Pre­view (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The ques­tion was as fol­lows:

“I won­dered what your posi­tion is regard­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s announce­ment that they’ll soon be drilling off the coast of Wash­ing­ton State for oil, in our fine waters,” inquired Kather­ine McConnell.

Democ­rats Sharon Nel­son and Lar­ry Springer field­ed the ques­tion first, telling the audi­ence they are appalled. Then it was the Repub­li­cans’ turn to weigh in.

“I’m opposed to drilling off­shore in Wash­ing­ton,” Schoesler stat­ed sim­ply, lean­ing back from the micro­phone after speak­ing those sev­en words to sig­ni­fy that that would be the extent of his answer. State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Kris­tiansen, the top House Repub­li­can, then offered his take. He was less emphat­ic in his answer, but stressed he also had con­cerns with the prospect of off­shore drilling.

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Reichert (WA-08) also indi­cat­ed he thinks Zinke’s plan is irre­spon­si­ble in a press release issued yes­ter­day by his office.

“I am deeply con­cerned about the Administration’s pro­pos­al allow­ing for new oil and gas drilling oppor­tu­ni­ties in the Pacif­ic and Atlantic oceans, Gulf of Mex­i­co, and off the coast of Alas­ka,” Reichert’s state­ment said.

“This moves Amer­i­ca in the wrong direc­tion and has the poten­tial to have a neg­a­tive last­ing effect on our oceans as well as the shore­lines of states on these coasts. Our coun­try is at the fore­front of devel­op­ing effi­cient and cost effec­tive alter­na­tive ener­gy tech­nolo­gies and we should con­tin­ue to sup­port inno­va­tion in this area. These ener­gy solu­tions of the future must be a part of our ener­gy plan.”

Reichert pre­vi­ous­ly signed a let­ter to Zinke ask­ing the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or not to open Wash­ing­ton’s waters to oil drilling… a plea Zinke chose to dis­re­gard.

Repub­li­cans on the oth­er coast are also rather unhap­py with the Trump regime’s immoral post-Christ­mas give­away to the oil indus­try.

For exam­ple, take Rick Scott, Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor of Flori­da. He’s no RINO (Repub­li­can in Name Only). And yet, here he was this week telling Zinke (and Trump, by exten­sion) that they were mak­ing a big mis­take.

Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nel­son, wide­ly expect­ed to bat­tle this year for Nel­son’s Sen­ate seat, said Thurs­day they both intend to fight a Trump admin­is­tra­tion plan to open pre­vi­ous­ly pro­tect­ed parts of the Atlantic Ocean and east­ern Gulf of Mex­i­co to off­shore oil and gas drilling. Scott said he has request­ed a meet­ing with Inte­ri­or Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke to dis­cuss oppo­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s effort to expand domes­tic ener­gy pro­duc­tion.

“Based on media reports, it is like­ly that the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or will con­sid­er Flori­da as a poten­tial state for off­shore oil drilling —- which is some­thing I oppose in Flori­da,” Scott said in a pre­pared state­ment short­ly before Zinke unveiled the drilling pro­pos­al Thurs­day. “I have already asked to imme­di­ate­ly meet with Sec­re­tary Zinke to dis­cuss the con­cerns I have with this plan and the cru­cial need to remove Flori­da from con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Mary­land Gov­er­nor Lar­ry Hogan, who isn’t as right wing as Scott, went even fur­ther, say­ing he’d like to see legal action to stop Zinke’s drilling schemes.

Mary­land Gov. Lar­ry Hogan and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bri­an Frosh are both express­ing oppo­si­tion to drilling off Mary­land’s coast.

The Repub­li­can gov­er­nor sent the Demo­c­ra­t­ic attor­ney gen­er­al a let­ter Thurs­day direct­ing him to inves­ti­gate the U.S. Inte­ri­or Depart­men­t’s plan, which was announced ear­li­er in the day. Hogan called for “any viable legal claims, actions or suits against the U.S. gov­ern­ment to pre­vent” off­shore drilling in Mary­land’s coastal waters.

The Zinke/Trump drilling scheme unveiled yes­ter­day is tan­ta­mount to a dec­la­ra­tion of war on the Earth, and it must be defeat­ed. Future gen­er­a­tions are count­ing on us to stop the forces of greed from ruin­ing our plan­et, which is already in grave per­il due to the ever-wors­en­ing cli­mate cri­sis. It’s good to see that at least some Repub­li­cans are sim­ply unwill­ing to go along with an agen­da that puts the oil indus­try’s wildest dreams first at the expense of all of human­i­ty.

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One Comment

  1. GOP=Gas,Oil,Petroleum Par­ty

    # by Mike Barer :: January 6th, 2018 at 8:14 AM