CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill prohibiting offshore drilling for oil and gas.
The new law corresponds to a bill in the U.S. Senate, the New England Coastal Protection Act, sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and cosponsored by every senator from New England states with coastlines — including Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen.
The bill in the Senate would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing leases for oil and natural gas exploration and development off the New England coast. Former interior secretary Ryan Zinke had in 2018 proposed opening federal waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Similar bills seeking to prohibit oil and gas exploration off other American coastlines have also been introduced in Congress.
The new state law, which Sununu signed Tuesday, blocks "any pipeline or other infrastructure that transports oil or natural gas" through state waters, and prohibits oil and gas exploration and development in state waters.
New Hampshire has jurisdiction over waters up to three miles from shore, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Federal jurisdiction extends from three miles from shore to 200 mile from shore.
State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark was the New Hampshire bill's lead sponsor.
"Many thanks to the Governor for signing this bipartisan legislation, ensuring that our valuable coastline will be protected from any negative impact on our environment, public health, and tourism from offshore drilling and associated development," she said in a statement.