Environmental Groups disappointed but hopeful for New Hampshire’s energy future
Concord, NH — Following the veto override vote yesterday on SB365, environmental organizations and community groups voiced disappointment in the outcome but optimism for New Hampshire’s energy future.
“We are heartened by the outstanding efforts of the many stalwart activists who shared their concerns of incinerator pollution that the SB365 subsidies would bring,” said Shaina Kasper of Toxics Action Center Campaigns. “However, we are incredibly disappointed. One vote would have changed the outcome. By one vote, the legislature’s unfinished business to address the health risks and the economic stranglehold of the out-of-state incinerator industry on our state will have to wait for the next session.”
“One legislator of good conscience could have saved ratepayers millions of dollars and NH forests from unregulated clearcuts,” said Jamie Sayen, an author who has been fighting mega-biomass for 30 years. His latest book published in 2017, You Had a Job for Life, is about the Groveton, NH paper mill that was shut down in 2007. “Think what hundreds of millions of dollars of rate payer subsidies could have done to move NH toward a carbon-free energy future.”
“113 representatives voting to sustain the veto shows the deep disagreement on this policy. The campaign on SB365 lit up the hidden health impacts associated with incineration,” said John Tuthill for Working on Waste. “We will be back to fight for an energy policy that shuns nuclear and other dirty and dangerous fuels like gas, oil, and coal and ends waste incineration once and for all.”
“We are incredibly disappointed to see the legislature forcing Eversource and Unitil customers to pay $68 million to subsidize seven of the largest air polluters in the state,” said Mike Ewall of Energy Justice Network. “A health-based energy future for NH would focus incentives on less polluting sources like energy conservation and efficiency, solar, wind, tidal, and energy storage.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these seven trash and biomass incinerators are the largest air polluters in nearly half of New Hampshire’s counties, representing major percentages of the toxic emissions released into the air we breathe. Toxic pollutants released by biomass and trash incineration take a serious toll on our health and are linked to many diseases including cancer, asthma and other respiratory diseases, and damage to the reproductive system.
“The subsidy offered by this override will require us to pay more for inefficient, expensive energy. We need to move away from burning our fuel and move to clean, local, renewable energy” said Cathy Corkery of the Sierra Club. “As we go into the next phase of environmental rulemaking next week, and begin lifting NH’s ban on C&D combustion, we hope the information about incineration that has come to light during the summer break in the legislative session will help better inform the rulemaking.”
Energy Justice Network is a national support network for communities threatened by dirty energy and waste industries, and is the leading organization supporting local opposition to biomass and waste incinerators in the U.S.
Toxics Action Center Campaigns is a public health and environmental non-profit that for over 30 years has worked side by side with communities to clean up and prevent pollution.
Working on Waste (WOW) is a citizens’ initiative that promotes safe alternatives to waste incineration. Conservation, composting, and recycling are the best ways to manage materials that often get thrown away as “waste.” For more information on the legacy of Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator, review Working on Waste’s report.
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign advocates for a switch to electric vehicles as one important way to reduce emissions and cut our addiction to oil. The New Hampshire Chapter was established in 1992.