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10 New England Senators Renew Push To Ban Offshore Drilling Off Region

The proposal is sponsored by Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
The proposal is sponsored by Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

All 10 U.S. senators in coastal New England reintroduced a proposal Friday to bar oil and gas drilling from the region's shores.

The group said President Trump's administration was stalling on the release of a new draft of its five-year offshore leasing plan. The group of senators, led by Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, said that means the Atlantic continental shelf off New England is still at risk of being opened up to drilling.

The senators said drilling off New England would be bad for the economy, tourism, wildlife and the environment. New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan said the region's coast needs to be "off limits."

The senators said tourism, fishing and recreation generate more than $17 billion for New England annually, according to the National Ocean Economics Program, and it would harm the five coastal states to jeopardize that revenue with drilling.

All of the senators are Democrats, except for those representing Maine: Sen. Susan Collins is a Republican, and Sen. Angus King is an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives.

The proposal comes as the Trump administration is rolling back some of the Obama-era safety regulations for offshore drilling.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom

Correction: An earlier version of this story's headline said "all New England senators," rather than all senators from coastal New England states. We regret the error.

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