CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday he understands the state is a “low-target area” for potential offshore drilling announced by the Trump administration.
Sununu met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The Republican governor opposes drilling off of New Hampshire’s coastline.
The new, five-year drilling plan would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades. It also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Florida to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for many years.
“It was clear that we were a low-target area for them and that our feelings on the matter would be strongly considered,” Sununu said in a conference call with New Hampshire reporters.
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Bipartisan members of New England’s congressional delegations have introduced a bill to prohibit oil and gas drilling off the New England coast. The New England Coastline Protection Act would prohibit oil and gas extraction activities in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
When asked if he would be open to joining with other states in possible legal action to block drilling, Sununu said he considers such matters a last resort and reflected on his meeting with Zinke as positive.
Sununu said he also met with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma to discuss a New Hampshire-driven Medicaid plan. New Hampshire is one of at least 10 states seeking a waiver from the federal government to add a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.
Sununu said the details of New Hampshire’s plan are still being worked on. He said Kentucky’s work requirement plan, which has been approved, has provided a great basis for other states.
“I have no doubt we’re going to come to a final agreement here in very short order,” Sununu said.