February Update: This bill has passed through the Senate and is now in the House! Check the end of the blog post for info on the next Public Hearing.

One of Surfrider’s biggest Oregon campaign efforts for 2018-2019, opposing new ocean oil and gas drilling and exploration, is finally headed to a hearing in the Senate this week following a strong year of grassroots advocacy. On Tuesday, January 29 the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on legislation to ban oil and gas drilling in Oregon’s nearshore as well as extend protections against threats of drilling in adjacent federal waters, permanently. The bi-partisan Senate Bill (SB) 256 seeks to repeal the sunset date of the existing offshore drilling moratorium—set to expire in 2020—and prohibits activities, like building new infrastructure, within state marine waters (0-3 miles) that would support oil drilling farther offshore in federal waters (3-200 miles). Introduced by lead authors Senator Arnie Roblan (D- Coos Bay), Representatives David Gomberg (D-Central Coast) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford), SB 256 already enjoys 19 additional co-sponsors.

Oil drilling off our coast? Can you imagine….oil rigs transposed off of Agate Beach

Surfrider Foundation played a key role working with the authors of the bill, networking with legislators across the country to support a united front of similar legislation across multiple coastal states. In response to the federal administration’s 2018 Offshore Oil and Gas lease proposals program, which included Oregon, Surfrider launched a massive grassroots campaign in Oregon to align nationally in opposition with other coastal states to the program; but, also to renew our own state water protections against oil and gas drilling. Mounting a massive response to the initial public comment with a rally on the Capitol, Surfrider chapters, staff and volunteers continued throughout 2018 working with over a dozen coastal cities, ports and tribes to pass resolutions opposing offshore oil and gas drilling. Even our federal delegation joined our coastal caucus at the Coastal Economic Summit to hold a special press conference in support of protecting our coast from oil and gas drilling. Through a sign the surfboard tour for businesses along the coast, from Brookings to Astoria we had well over a 100 businesses sign on to our Business Alliance joining in our effort to oppose new drilling and exploration.

Senator Roblan, SB 256 chief sponsor, in front of the Capitol with the surfboard from Surfrider’s tour – signed by 100s of west coast businesses in opposition of oil drilling along the Oregon coast

State leaders, local municipalities, and businesses across the West Coast are taking action to safeguard their communities and economies from any future offshore oil exploration and development. Currently, new offshore drilling lease sales in federal waters are proposed by the Trump Administration off Oregon, Washington, and California. SB 256 will also codify the sentiments of Oregonians, with five coastal cities having adopted resolutions opposing offshore drilling and 110 Oregon businesses having joined the Business Alliance to Protect the Pacific Coast.

How You Can Help:

Our staff, volunteers and chapter leaders have done an incredible amount of work to get us where we are today with the bill, but our work is not done, the session is just getting started! Here’s a few easy ways you can help:

Organizational SB 256 Sign On: Join over 30 organizations, Sign Your Organization On Here!

Business SB 256 Sign On: Join over 150 coastal businesses, Sign Your Business On Here

Call Your Legislator – Find your legislator here. Here’s some great talking points.

Attend a legislative hearing, provide public testimony and track the bill – contact Oregon Policy Manager, Charlie Plybon for more info. on how you can help! cplybon@surfrider.org 

Latest Legislative Event:

What: House Committee On Energy and Environment Public Hearing on SB 256 to ban offshore drilling
When: March 5, 2019—committee hearing begins at 1:00pm PST
Where: Committee hearing will be webcast live at the following link