- Associated Press - Monday, January 22, 2018

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Roy Cooper is urging North Carolina residents to contact the federal government and express their opposition to expanding offshore oil and gas exploration, and says the state will sue if it’s not exempted from President Donald Trump administration’s five-year drilling plan.

Cooper spoke at a news conference Monday near Wilmington to repeat his criticism of the Department of the Interior proposal to open more waters to drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced earlier this month that Florida’s coastline would be exempted, although another Trump administration official said last week nothing had been finalized.

Cooper says North Carolina has the same concerns about protecting the tourism industry as Florida does, and points out that many local North Carolina elected officials and groups have expressed their opposition to offshore drilling.

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