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NH Meeting to Draw Opponents of Offshore Drilling

From fishing to recreation, New Hampshire's coastal waters play a major role in the state's economy.  (ckaras/Pixabay)
From fishing to recreation, New Hampshire's coastal waters play a major role in the state's economy. (ckaras/Pixabay)
March 2, 2018

CONCORD, N. H. –Environmental advocates say a plan to allow oil drilling in New Hampshire's coastal waters is a threat to the environment and the state's economy. On Monday, there's a public meeting in Concord on the Trump administration's proposal to open most of the U.S. coastline to oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke describes the plan as part of "a new path for energy dominance in America." But Caterine Corkery, chapter director with New Hampshire Sierra Club, calls it "a danger to a critical state resource" – a message she intends to deliver at the hearing.

"New Hampshire does not support drilling off of our coast,” says Corkery, “in the Gulf of Maine or in any of the areas that have been permanently protected."

President Donald Trump has said the current ban on coastal drilling deprives the nation of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. The hearing is from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday at the Holiday Inn on North Main Street in Concord.

But Corkery asserts that lifting the ban not only would put coastal areas at risk of oil spills, but also perpetuate reliance on energy sources that threaten the entire planet.

"Sierra Club certainly believes that we need to be shifting away from fossil fuels and focusing more on local, renewable energy," she says.

The Trump administration also has withdrawn the U.S. from international efforts to curb global climate change.

Corkery says she'll be at the hearing, along with a coalition of conservation groups and a bipartisan group of legislators.

"We are asking folks to come join us on the sidewalk,” she says, “and we'll be holding signs and voicing our opposition to the drilling plan."

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management accepts public comments on the proposal through March 9.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NH