NH bans off-shore oil and gas drilling
RYE Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law Tuesday that bans oil and natural gas drilling off New Hampshire’s coastline.
Sununu signed Senate Bill 76 into law Tuesday afternoon at Ragged Neck State Park as he sat next to the bill’s primary sponsor, state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, and state Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Fuller Clark called the new law “a very significant victory for New Hampshire and for our environment.”
The law, she said Tuesday afternoon while the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashed behind her, “makes clear that despite attempts and interests by the Trump administration, New Hampshire – joining with our neighboring states of Maine and Massachusetts – will not permit oil and gas drilling off our shores.”
She added New Hampshire will also forbid “any development of on-shore support facilities related to such exploration.”
She thanked Sununu for “signing this bipartisan legislation ensuring that our valuable coastline is protected from any negative impact on our environment, including the fishing industry, public health and tourism.”
She reminded the crowd about the “terrible environmental devastation” that occurred after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.
“We can’t afford that for environmental reasons, for tourism reasons, for quality of life,” Fuller Clark said Tuesday.
She also credited Dudley Dudley, former state executive councilor, for stopping Aristotle Onassis from building the world’s largest oil refinery in Durham connected to a marine terminal at the Isles of Shoals.
“How fortunate we are that that never happened and how fortunate we are today that we’ve been able to move this legislation forward,” Fuller Clark said.
Before signing the bill into law, Sununu credited Fuller Clark for championing the bill through the Legislature.
“Nothing is easy in the Legislature, as these two great representatives can attest to,” Sununu said.
He also pointed to the state’s “incredible history of strong environmental stewardship,” saying it’s something to be “very, very proud of.”
Sununu noted he received assurances from the Trump administration “that drilling would not occur off of New Hampshire’s coast.”
But the legislation helps ensure that pledge “for future generations, for future administrations,” he said.
“We remind ourselves we may have the shortest coastline in the country, but it is without a doubt one of the most splendid areas you could ever visit,” Sununu said.