Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

protest sign

Signs rebuking President Trump and a proposal to drill off Oregon's coast could be seen at a rally against offshore drilling on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, at the Oregon State Capitol. (Photo: Molly J. Smith / Statesman Journal)

'Drilling Is Killing': West Coast Activists Hold Series of Protests to Counter Trump's Offshore Oil Plan

Environmentalists in Oregon and California take to the streets to tell the Trump administration "we want to keep our coastline clean."

Common Dreams staff

West coasts environmentalists and indigenous people have launched a series of protests to challenge the Trump administration's controversial proposal to dramatically expand offshore oil drilling, which would threaten communities all along the U.S. coastline.

"We have to step up and let these people know we want to keep our coastline clean and pure as it should be," said Elke Littleleaf, a member of the Warm Springs Indian tribe who participated in a protest at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem on Tuesday.

Hundreds of critics of the Interior Department's plan—including some who sported black t-shirts that declared "drilling is killing"—gathered outside the state Capitol on Tuesday in response to a public meeting about the proposal, which was hosted at a nearby hotel by the department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The state's U.S. senators, Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, offered their support from Washington, D.C., taking to the Senate floor to demand that Trump Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke rescind the plan.

Oregon's protest came on the heels of more than a thousand people in California, including local politicians, rallying in opposition to the drilling proposal over the weekend.

Environmental and indigenous groups in California have planned another demonstration that will take place in the state's capital, Sacramento, on Thursday.

In an op-ed outlining how "the Trump administration's effort to dramatically expand federal offshore oil production has reignited a battle with California that dates back nearly 50 years," Charles Lester, the former executive director of the state's Coastal Commission, notes that the proposal has not only "sparked tremendous opposition in California," but "nearly all other coastal states also are objecting."

Urging Californians to support renewable energy sources "such as wind and wave energy," as well as a state bill that was introduced in response to the Trump drilling proposal, Lester concludes, "Such actions would be symbolically important now, and could help California make headway towards what many protesters here are calling for: a permanent ban on offshore oil development."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Amid Existential Threat to Reproductive Rights, Congress Urged to Act

"It's the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and if we don't fight like hell it could very well be the last," said one campaigner, who called on U.S. lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act.

Brett Wilkins ·


Black Mississippi State Senators Stage Walkout as Critical Race Theory Ban Passed

"We cannot continue to stumble into the future backwards," said one Black senator who taught for 33 years. "That's what this bill does."

Brett Wilkins ·


Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·


Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo