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State lawmakers join forces against offshore drilling

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A group of nine Democratic state lawmakers from different coastal states announced Tuesday that they are going to use their coming legislative sessions to try to block attempts at offshore drilling.

The lawmakers' announcement came as new and re-elected legislators were entering office around the country after an election that saw high turnover in some states, and the group said it wants to take advantage of new political dynamics that could favor environmental bills. The announcement also came about a year after Trump's administration announced plans to expand drilling.

The lawmakers, who are affiliated with nonprofit advocacy group National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, said their bills will seek to limit the possibility of drilling off their coasts. State legislatures are limited in what they can do to stop drilling beyond state waters, but the lawmakers said they're showing a united stand against the practice.

"We need to pass permanent legislation in our states so that this ban would be in place for the future," New Hampshire Sen. Martha Fuller Clark said. "We can't afford to rely on Washington to protect us."

Others lawmakers involved in the effort represent Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. Some of the lawmakers said they would seek outright bans on drilling, while others said they would look to pass bills that restrict it or do more to hold companies liable for spills.

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