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Sounding the Alarm for the Harbinger of Spring: Maple Syrup

Senator Hassan Sierra Club Breakfast 2-21-17

Nearly 150 Attend Breakfast to Hear
US Senator Hassan and Experts on Local Climate Impacts  
 

DURHAM, NH – Maple syrup is a New Hampshire institution, but climate change could have tragic impacts on the future harvest.

Nearly150 concerned Granite Staters attended Local Climate Impacts Pancake Breakfast: Maple Syrup and Forests Impacts on Tuesday, February 21st at UNH in Durham.

While everyone loves to pour maple syrup on pancakes, experts discussed the changes and interruptions to the traditions, landscapes, industries and even the science behind the sweetest harbinger of spring. The potential impact could have devastating ripple effects on the Granite State tourism economy, the cottage industry on farms and sugar bushes throughout the state, and the forests overall. 

US Senator Maggie Hassan spoke in recognition of the climate trends and in support of climate action: 

“Our natural resources define us as a state and are critical to our economy, our environment, and our way of life in New Hampshire,” Senator Hassan said. “We are already seeing the real impacts of climate change on our environment – including on our maple syrup and ski industries. The Climate Change Impact Breakfast is an important opportunity to raise awareness about how a changing climate is negatively impacting the Granite State, and I commend everyone in attendance for your commitment to protecting our environment and our state. In the Senate, I’m committed to building on your efforts by working across the aisle to achieve a cleaner environment and a stronger energy future that will help our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive.” 

Local maple syrup producers also spoke in recognition of the unpredictability of a once predictable season.

Ray LaRoche, the owner and operator of Maple Meadow/LaRoche Farm in Durham, has observed highly variable weather trends over time that present challenges to maple sugar production.   

“The cycle of cold temperatures at night and warmer temperatures during the day that are best for maple sugar production are less predictable than in years past. Warming temperatures have lowered the sugar content of maple syrup, and that means more sap is needed to make the product,” stated Mr. LaRoche. “It used to take 25 gallons of sap to make a gallon of pure maple syrup, and now it takes 50 gallons. Producers need to adapt to these changes with new farming techniques, particularly in the southern regions of our state.” 

Jeff Moore, owner of Windswept Farms in Loudon serves on the board of the NH Maple Producers Association, spoke about the strong economic engine that maple production provides to the rural areas of the state; as well as, the regional bottling and packaging operations located in the state.

“The maple sugaring industry in New Hampshire is an important part of our identity, culture, and economy, employing nearly 1,000 people in our state and accounting for more than $150 million in economic activity each year,” Mr. Moore added. “We need to take care of our environment to make sure that the maple sugaring industry continues to flourish.” 

Cameron Wake, Ph.D., Research Professor, Climatology and Glaciology, the Josephine A. Lamprey Professor in Climate and Sustainability, UNH Sustainability Institute, spoke about the climate trends as recorded by the institution.

“The warming trend we are witnessing is much more apparent in the winter,” stated Dr. Wake. “While warmer winters seem appealing to some, there are a number of consequences in the environment and in day-to-day life, some of which can already be seen in New Hampshire. Consequently, there is an amount of climate change we are going to have to adapt to.” 

Saving Sap, the award winning film by director Ian MacLellen and written by Elodie Reed, was shown at the start of the breakfast. Locally sourced maple syrup was served with pancakes. Maple Syrup Weekend sponsored by the NH Maple Producers Association is scheduled for March 25-26 this year. 

Attendees were asked to take action to reduce the source of the climate changing pollution by taking several types of actions. The actions included writing letters in support of the national health-based protections called Clean Power Plan and a petition asking Governor Sununu to maintain the power plant pollution reducing regional program, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The Climate Impacts Maple Breakfast is sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force, Environment New Hampshire, Union of Concerned Scientists, League of Conservation Voters, and New Hampshire Sierra Club, in partnership with the UNH Sustainability Institute. 

Breakfast Panel: Local Climate Impacts on Maple Trees and Syrup

Special Guest US  Senator Maggie Hassan

 DURHAM, NH – Maple syrup is a New Hampshire institution, but climate change could have tragic impacts on the future harvest in NH unless we act now. Concerned Granite Staters are invited to celebrate and learn how to protect this home-grown delight at the annual pancake breakfast on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7:30am. Register for the breakfast here: http://tinyurl.com/hjyy9pf.

DATE: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017

LOCATION: UNH Huddleston Hall Ballroom, 73 Main Street, Durham, NH

Doors open at 7:30 AM     

Program starts at 8:00 AM

Join local environmental groups and the UNH Sustainability Institute for a Local Climate Impacts Pancake Breakfast at the UNH Huddleston Hall Ballroom in Durham at 7:30am. Hear from local maple syrup producers, scientists, and elected officials about the impacts of a changing climate on the NH maple syrup industry. Then, supporters can take action with local organizations and enjoy pancakes with real New Hampshire maple syrup.

This year, our special guest is US Senator Maggie Hassan and other panelists include Jeff Moore of Windswept Farms of Loudon and NH Maple Producers Association, Ray LaRoche of Maple Meadow/LaRoche Farm in Durham, and UNH Professor Cameron Wake. 

Doors Open at 7:30am and the program will begin at 8:00am. This event is FREE and open to the public.

The Climate Impacts Maple Breakfast is sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force, Environment New Hampshire, Union of Concerned Scientists, League of Conservation Voters, and New Hampshire Sierra Club, in partnership with the UNH Sustainability Institute.

After The Voting: What’s Next For Energy And Climate Issues In New Hampshire?

Environmental groups host 2016 Post Election Round Table 

CONCORD, NH – How will the current environmental protections continue to safeguard our public health with the dramatic shift in the administration in the White House and the State House? Energy saving and pollution reduction programs, once a unifying non-partisan issue, are now a cause for great division and political strife.  Over 100 people attended a roundtable discussion with a number of local experts provided a greater understanding of how the programs work and their wide ranging benefits.  Speakers included Representative Bill Baber of Dover, Taylor Caswell of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, Jack Ruderman of Revision Energy and Rebecca Whitley of Mom’s Clean Air Force. Sam Evans-Brown of New Hampshire Public Radio acted as the moderator.  

The dramatic two-year presidential campaign’s final conclusion has many people questioning the future of the country’s policies concerning many issues from foreign relations, the economy, healthcare, marriage equality, abortion, job growth, taxes and the environment. Over the course of the election, voters polled consistently in the Granite State and across the country said that they support action on climate change and renewable energy. New Hampshire participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a nine state market driven carbon pollution reduction program that promotes investments in energy efficiency, weatherization, building retrofits and renewable energy. RGGI is the model for the recently introduced national carbon reduction program called the Clean Power Plan. Both President-Elect Trump and Governor-Elect Sununu have stated differences with the current administrations’ support for the market based energy saving programs aimed to create climate solutions. Candidate Trump went so far as calling climate change a “hoax by the Chinese” in a tweet.

The post-election roundtable discussion was held at the Concord Public Library in Concord, NH and hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment America, Mom’s Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation and New Hampshire Sierra Club. The host organizations highlighted opportunities to reach out to the new administrations in the State House to demonstrate support for energy saving programs, offering to arrange meetings, monitor legislation and creating meaningful actions.

The roundtable was broadcasted live on Facebook (include below) and comments posted on Twitter that can be seen @NHSierraClub. 

Quotes and Brief Biographies of Speakers

NH State Representative Bill Baber:

 “We are about to experience a governmental change with greater unknowns following any previous election.  This is especially true for the environment, energy, and our economy.”

Bill Baber is an outgoing member of the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee where he acted as the Democratic ranking member.  He is a Vietnam era veteran with a rich academic and employment background ranging from film making to computer science.

Taylor Caswell:

“The economics of climate change will continue, regardless of what a government may or may not do.  Every time a business or a municipality finances a project through our Clean Energy Fund, they cut their energy costs, and that reduces carbon emissions.  It’s a basic operational and financial decision that increasingly makes the most sense for New Hampshire organizations.”

Taylor Caswell is the executive director of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, whose mission is to facilitate community economic development across the state with financial and technical resources.  CDFA’s total assets under management each year exceed $30 million, and include the New Hampshire Clean Energy Fund which provides resources for energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy integration for organizations statewide.

Rebecca Whitley:

“We cannot allow President-Elect Trump, or our New Hampshire elected officials, to wage a war on public health.  The progress on climate action over the last 8 years is important for our children’s health and for future generations. We need to organize and become the checks and balances to protect our children against any attack on their health and well-being.”   

Becky Whitley is the field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force in New Hampshire. She received a B.B.A. from George Washington University and a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Becky has always been committed to social justice and children’s health. She comes to Moms Clean Air Force after many years of practicing public interest law, representing adults and children on important disability rights issues and participating in policy advocacy. Becky works to mobilize parents in New Hampshire and advocates for children’s right to clean air and a healthy climate. 

Jack Ruderman

Jack Ruderman is the Director of Community Solar Initiatives for Revision Energy, an ambitious effort to solarize municipalities, nonprofits, and schools throughout the Granite State, as well as organize the development of community solar farms. Jack previously served as Director of the Sustainable Energy Division of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, where he was responsible for administering the state’s Renewable Energy Fund. He also served 12 years at the New Hampshire Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning.  He holds a B.A. in political science from Tufts University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Moderator Sam Evans-Brown

Sam Evans-Brown is a reporter and host on New Hampshire Public Radio. Covering the environmental beat for NHPR, Sam’s reporting won him several awards, including two Edward R. Murrow awards, and he was also a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. Last year, Sam helped launch a new show called Outside/In to further explore his environmental interests. Find the show http://outsideinradio.org/  on Twitter and Face Book @OutsideInRadio.

NH Climate Advocacy Groups Deliver Petitions In Support Of Energy Saving Programs

petition-drop-off-27sept16

CONCORD, NH — A coalition of New Hampshire groups delivered 992 petitions to the governor’s office on Tuesday, calling on the state to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). As RGGI undergoes a policy review, environmental advocates are calling on the state to double the strength of the program by lowering the cap on carbon emissions by 5% instead of 2.5% every year.

The coalition includes Environment New Hampshire, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Toxics Action Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, and New Hampshire Sierra Club.

“Strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the best way for New Hampshire to do its part in cutting dangerous carbon emissions and investing in a clean energy economy,” said Michelle McCarthy, a campaign organizer for Environment New Hampshire.

“The RGGI program has been very effective in reducing carbon emissions, creating jobs and sparking investments in renewable energy sources” said Rob Werner, State Director of the League of Conservation Voters. “New Hampshire should follow the lead of other RGGI states and allow RGGI proceeds to be used more effectively to support a variety of  approaches to continue to move from a high carbon economy to a low carbon economy.”

“People in New Hampshire want to be part of the solution and want more tools to act on climate,” Catherine Corkery, NH Sierra Club. “The RGGI program has been a great first step for the last 8 years. Now New Hampshire needs to go farther and faster with more energy efficiency, more renewables and more financial tools. We need our leaders to hear us and act on climate with us.” 

The coalition will be hosting a People’s Hearing to focus on supporting and strengthening RGGI at UNH School of Law in Concord on Wednesday, September 28th. The coalition plans to deliver testimony from the hearing to the Governor at a later date.

Petition language below.


To: Honorable Governor Hassan, NHDES Commissioner Thomas Burack, and NHPUC Commissioner Bob Scott,

The connection between climate and energy use is critical because power plants are some of the leading contributors to climate disruption and unhealthy air pollution. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is New Hampshire’s program to reduce carbon pollution from those dirty energy sources, helping businesses and families save money on energy bills, improving the local economy, and protecting our climate and health. Currently, there is a review of the regional energy savings program.

For New Hampshire, I support three improvements:

  1. Reducing the amount of carbon pollution power plants are allowed to emit by at least 5% annually from 2020 levels through 2030;
  2. Closing or reforming loopholes in the program including the cost containment reserve and credit banking program; and,
  3. Eliminating the corporate rebate program and instead directing more of the funds to the Energy Efficiency Programs to benefit taxpayers, low income households, and residents.

By improving our climate protections you can make sure New Hampshire is in the driver’s seat when it comes to meeting the goals of the Clean Power Plan, helping consumers save money, reducing pollution, improving the local economy, and protecting our climate and public health.

Governor Hassan Highlights State Employee Energy Efficiency Efforts

Governor Honors State Employees Association (SEIU 1984) Member For Her Effort To Reduce Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption. 

CONCORD – In order to highlight state government’s efforts to improve energy efficiency, Governor Maggie Hassan presented the Governor’s Excellence in Energy Efficiency Awards at the State’s annual energy conference last week hosted by the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services, Department of Environmental Services and the Office of Energy & Planning. 

This annual conference, which brings together state agency staff involved in energy, transportation and efficiency efforts, serves to celebrate the great work being done in state government to reduce fossil-fuel energy consumption, provide information on other ways to reduce energy use, and enable staff to network with their colleagues in other agencies.

“As a state, we remain focused on diversifying our energy supply mix and investing in energy efficiency and conservation – the cleanest and cheapest approach to reducing our energy bills,” Governor Hassan said. “Because of the efforts of our dedicated and hard-working state employees, the state is conserving more energy, which is saving valuable state resources and helping to preserve our environment. Together, we must continue to innovate and move our clean energy economy forward.”

In the last ten years, the State has avoided more than $10 million in energy costs through energy efficiency measures and by switching to lower-cost fuels. The state energy manager estimates the state saved nearly $5 million on its energy costs in Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015 alone. Between Fiscal Year 2005 and Fiscal Year 2015, the square footage of building space used by state government increased by 11 percent while overall energy use has remained the same. This meant that the energy used per square foot of building space (i.e., the Energy Use Intensity or “EUI”) fell by 11 percent and the fossil-fuel EUI fell by nearly 21 percent.

“In order to build on our progress, we must keep pressing forward quickly and aggressively to make a new energy future a reality,” Governor Hassan said. “These award winners are helping to strengthen what makes New Hampshire unique and to maintain our status as a great place to work, live, visit and raise a family.”

The state has also been actively pursuing reductions in fuel consumption by its vehicle fleet. Since 2009, the State passenger auto and truck fleet has reduced mileage by approximately six percent, which has translated to 1.8 million fewer miles of travel, reducing costs across state government.

Awards this year were given to: Sharon Rivard of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services; the New Hampshire Adjutant General’s Department and the New Hampshire Army National Guard; and the Bureau of Court Facilities, under the Department of Administrative Services.

“We congratulate Sharon Rivard, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member, Chapter 50, for her initiative and commitment to serving the people of NH in the most efficient way,” said Rich Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984.  “We also recognize all of the state employees who work daily to find new ways to conserve resources and streamline their work, as they continue to provide services to Granite State residents and visitors.”

Individual Recognition Awardee Sharon Rivard works as a Design Review Engineer in the Wastewater Engineering Bureau in the Water Division at the Office at the Department of Environmental Services. In this capacity, Sharon has woven energy consciousness into her daily work, making changes to wastewater funding programs and design criteria, which result in energy efficiency improvements in the design and construction of all wastewater facilities going forward. The work that Sharon did in this regard has been showcased by the US Environmental Protection Agency as an innovative approach that other states might follow. Further, she is collaborating with the New Hampshire Office or Energy & Planning and New Hampshire’s electric utilities on a project that will help the state’s 84 municipally-owned wastewater treatment plants reduce their energy use and avoid 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, saving municipalities almost $2 million per year in electricity costs. 

The New Hampshire Adjutant General’s Department and the New Hampshire Army National Guard were chosen for this year’s Model Energy Agency award recipient for dedicating staff to energy efficiency and making efficiency everyone’s job. The department and the Guard have systematically been evaluating each of its buildings in order to identify energy-saving measures that can cost-effectively be installed. The Guard has also installed smart meters on its facilities and evaluated the potential for onsite renewables. These actions have helped the Guard improve its own operations and energy performance, while also helping to lead New Hampshire forward.

The final award, the Outstanding Project or Initiative Award, was presented to the Bureau of Court Facilities. The bureau took the initiative to investigate abnormally high energy use at one of its courthouses. They hired a consultant to do an energy audit and the resulting report gave them several large efficiency measures to tackle. Once Bureau staff understood the potential opportunities around them, they began to identify their own measures and act on these observations. Many of these energy retrofit projects have payback periods of less than five years.

At the conference, Governor Hassan also unveiled new energy efficiency goals for state government, including reducing fossil fuel usage by 50 percent over 2005 levels by 2030.

Governor Hassan Sets New Renewable Energy Goals For State Government

Governor Hassan Issues Executive Order Setting New Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Renewable Energy Goals for State Government

CONCORD – In order to combat climate change and save taxpayer dollars, Governor Maggie Hassan today issued an Executive Order setting new, aggressive goals for state government on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy.

“As a state, we remain focused on diversifying our energy supply mix and investing in energy efficiency and conservation – the cleanest and cheapest approach to reducing our energy bills. But we must continue to innovate and move our clean energy economy forward,” Governor Hassan said. “This Executive Order sets new ambitious goals on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy, which will help us combat climate change and save taxpayer dollars.”

This morning, the Governor announced the new goals at the annual State Energy Conference in Concord, where state agencies gathered to highlight state government’s successful energy efficiency and conservation efforts. New Hampshire state government has been working to reduce fossil energy use by 25 percent by 2025, and state government has nearly reached that goal. Over the last ten years, the State has reduced fossil fuel energy use in state buildings by nearly 21 percent, reduced vehicle mileage by more than six percent and avoided more than 10 million dollars in energy costs through energy efficiency and other measures.

“Because of our efforts, the state is conserving more energy, which is saving valuable state resources and helping to preserve our environment, but I challenge you to do more,” Governor Hassan said. “Given the growing costs of energy and the growing reality of climate change, we can’t afford to stand still. We must keep pressing forward quickly and aggressively to make a new energy future a reality.”

The Executive Order sets updated goals of reducing fossil fuel use at state-owned facilities by 30 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2030, compared to a 2005 baseline; reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the state passenger vehicle fleet by 30 percent on a metric-ton basis by 2030, as compared to a 2010 baseline; enhancing construction and renovation standards; and increasing management and tracking of energy consumption.

The State Government Energy Committee, a steering committee comprising representatives from various state agencies, will advise the State Energy Manager and the State Fleet Manager regarding the improvement of energy management within state buildings, operations and fleets, as well as the development and promotion of state policies.

The full text of the Governor’s Executive Order is attached and below:


STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

BY HER EXCELLENCY

MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR

EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 2016-03

(Supersedes EO 2011-1)

An order for state government to continue to lead-by-example in energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy

WHEREAS, the use of fossil fuels for electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation has a significant impact on public health and the environment, contributing to such problems as ground-level ozone, acid deposition, water pollution, small particle pollution, regional haze, mercury contamination, and climate change; and 

WHEREAS, the State owns more than 500 buildings and occupies 700 additional buildings, and operates a passenger vehicle fleet of approximately 2,000 vehicles, making it the largest energy user in New Hampshire with transportation, heating, cooling, and electricity costs greater than $27 million annually in 2015; and

WHEREAS, since 2005 New Hampshire state government has reduced its fossil fuel energy use by 21 percent per square foot, avoiding nearly $10 million in state energy costs; and

WHEREAS, the State is expected to avoid nearly $87 million in energy expenditures over the next 20 years as a result of a series of innovative energy performance contracts overseen by the State Energy Manager at the Department of Administrative Services and the work of state agencies; and

WHEREAS, the State, through the work of the State Fleet Manager at the Department of Administrative Services, has also reduced its passenger vehicle miles traveled by approximately 2.4 million miles since 2009, avoiding the purchase of an estimated 137,000 gallons of fuel and avoiding approximately $359,000 in fuel costs since that time, while reducing carbon pollution emissions by 1,200 metric tons; and 

WHEREAS, development of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources will help preserve New Hampshire’s valuable environmental resources; protect the health of our citizens; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, other harmful pollution, and energy costs; increase our energy independence; and contribute to the state’s economic vitality; and

WHEREAS, New Hampshire state government has a strong commitment and an obligation to lead-by-example in such areas as energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy, to save taxpayers money, reduce environmental impact, and demonstrate cost-effective solutions to citizens, businesses, and other government jurisdictions.

NOW THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, in order to continue our progress in reducing energy use and costs, and the release of greenhouse gas and other pollutants, by the authority vested in me by Part II, Article 41 of the New Hampshire Constitution, do hereby order that:

  • A steering committee, referred to as the State Government Energy Committee (SGEC), shall advise the State Energy Manager and the State Fleet Manager regarding the improvement of energy management within state buildings, operations and fleets; and  the development and promotion of policies to expand the State’s lead-by-example efforts. The SGEC shall be composed of representatives of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), the Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), the Department of Safety (DOS), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Office of Energy and Planning (OEP), and all other Agencies and Departments with significant opportunities for energy management, and shall be co-chaired by the Commissioner of NHDES and the Director of OEP.
  • To build upon our success in achieving significant fossil fuel and cost reductions, the State of New Hampshire shall, using a metric developed by the State Energy Manager and the SGEC to normalize for annual variations in weather and use, reduce aggregate fossil fuel use across all its owned facilities on a square-foot basis, as compared to a 2005 baseline, by:
    1. 30 percent by 2020; and
    2. 40 percent by 2025; and
    3. 50 percent by 2030.
  • The State of New Hampshire shall work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state passenger vehicle fleet by 30 percent on a metric-ton basis by 2030, as compared to a 2010 baseline. 
  • The State Energy Manager and the State Fleet Manager, working with the SGEC, will develop performance metrics for specific building categories and vehicle classes that apply to all Agencies and Departments to ensure compliance with the targets established in Items 2 and 3 above. The performance metrics will be developed by December 30, 2016, and Agencies and Departments will report their progress toward achieving those metrics in their Fiscal Year 2018 Energy Conservation Plans.
  • Every Agency and Department having more than 15 employees or that occupies more than 10,000 square feet of space shall, in the submission of the annual Energy Conservation Plan required by 21-I:14-c, designate a coordinator who will be responsible for tracking the implementation of this Executive Order and who will serve as the contact person for dissemination of information on reducing energy and water use.
  • Every Agency and Department that is financially responsible for utility expenses shall utilize the utility management tool approved by the State Energy Manager, in consultation with the SGEC, to track its energy and water consumption and shall benchmark the energy and water use of each of its facilities in accordance with the recommendations of the SGEC.
  • Each Agency and Department will include in their requests for proposals for leased spaces a request that bidders submit a building energy score and/or a building energy audit.  If such information is not available, the ability of the Agency or Department to lease that facility will not be impacted. Starting by Fiscal Year 2018, the energy associated with leased spaces shall also be tracked, but the energy performance targets established above will not apply.
  • All new construction or renovations of state buildings shall maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy, and minimize fossil fuel consumption by compliance with the following criteria: 
  1. All projects required to comply with the high performance, energy efficient, sustainable design standard defined in RSA 155-A:13 shall also employ energy modeling during the design process and complete third-party commissioning upon completion; and
  2. Beginning January 1, 2017, any project managed by the Division of Public Works that affects fewer than 25,000 square feet or costs less than $1,000,000 shall comply with the requirements of a second-tier high performance, energy efficient, sustainable design standard determined by the Commissioners of the Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Administrative Services, in consultation with the Division of Historic Resources, the Division of Public Works, the Office of Energy and Planning, and the Community College System.  Such standard shall be reviewed annually at the same time as the high performance standard pursuant to RSA 155-A:13, and shall be amended as necessary; and
  3. The second-tier standard shall not apply to structures or projects specified in RSA 155-A:13, Paragraph II (b), (d), (e), (f) or (g); and
  4. In developing the high performance, energy efficient, sustainable design standard and the second-tier standard, provisions of current International Energy Conservation Codes and ASHRAE Standard 189.1 shall be considered; and
  5. All new construction projects included above shall incorporate a renewable energy component in their design if the cost of such can be recovered within the lifetime of the measure.
  • In addition to the criteria listed in RSA 21-I:17-b, relative to the purchase of electricity by competitive bidding, the ability to provide a percentage of electricity from renewable sources shall be considered when selecting an electric provider.
  • Beginning with the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 budget cycle, all capital improvement project requests shall require the submitting Agency or Department to complete an analysis of energy cost savings or additions associated with the project. This information shall be included as a separate line item on the submission form and shall not be combined with other operational cost savings or additions.
  • The State of New Hampshire shall lead-by-example in the adoption of new clean vehicle technology by pursuing opportunities to procure electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles for use in the state fleet and by installing EV charging infrastructure for use by state agencies. Where feasible and recommended by SGEC, state offices with more than 50 employees will also make EV charging infrastructure available for employees, with the energy cost associated with such charging to be borne by the users or suppliers of that equipment, or through other innovative financing mechanisms.
  • In recognition that more than 45 percent of carbon dioxide pollution in New Hampshire comes from the transportation sector, and nearly 30 percent of state energy dollars are used to pay for transportation energy use, every Agency and Department shall comply with the Clean Fleets Program (CFP) requirements as established by the SGEC.  The SGEC shall update criteria for the CFP no later than October 1st annually. The CFP shall include:
  •  A Clean Fleet Approved Vehicle List that includes vehicles that meet a minimum fuel economy requirement and a minimum emissions rating for new passenger vehicle and light truck purchases; and 
  1. A waiver procedure for requesting the purchase of a vehicle not on the Clean Fleets Approved Vehicle List; and
  2. Based upon recommendations by the SGEC, minimum fuel economy and emissions ratings for on-road medium and heavy-duty vehicles shall also be established; and
  3. A procedure to ensure that the appropriate vehicle is selected for the intended use of the vehicle; and
  4. A method by which the total cost of ownership of a specific vehicle is to be calculated, with such calculation including a cost of carbon factor. The SGEC shall provide recommendations on the cost of carbon factor to be used; and
  5. Vehicle purchase requirements that ensure compliance with the United States Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), which mandates that a certain percentage of new vehicles purchased in certain areas of the state be alternative fuel vehicles; and
  6. A motor vehicle “Best Management Practices” guide, including the State’s anti-idling policy and additional measures to promote vehicle fuel conservation including, but not limited to: carpooling, teleconferencing, and improved preventive maintenance.
  • The SGEC shall develop outreach materials relative to improving energy conservation in buildings and fuel-efficient driving behaviors and disseminate that information to state employees via avenues deemed appropriate by the SGEC.
  • The State Energy Manager and the State Fleet Manager shall report to the Governor on an annual basis, as an appendix to the Annual Energy Report, regarding the progress on implementing the policies and the measures identified herein.

Given under my hand and seal at the Executive Chambers in Concord, this 6th day of May, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and sixteen, and the independence of the United States of America,    two hundred and forty.

Governor of New Hampshire

Why The Passage Of The Net Metering Increase Is Important Today And In The Gubernatorial Election

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

In the past year we have seen an explosion in home solar panel leasing companies who provide panels at little to no cost. They promise to save you 5-10 cents per kilowatt-hour on your electricity bill. They do this by collecting energy from your rooftop panels and selling it to the electric company.

Think of this like backfeeding the electricity grid with clean solar energy so the electricity company can reduce the amount on energy they need to produce from coal power plants.

The solar company then subsidizes the cost of the electricity coming into your home saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

The process of selling solar to the electric company is called “net metering.” The net metering cap is simply how much an individual could sell their solar energy to the electric company. On Monday, Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 1116 into law doubling the net metering cap.

“Solar and other small scale clean energy resources are critical to New Hampshire’s growing clean energy economy, which is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change,” said Governor Hassan. Clean energy resources such as solar are also helping businesses and families across the state lower their energy bills and increase their energy independence, helping to build a more diverse and reliable energy supply that will lead to a more affordable and more innovative energy future for our state.”

“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry, and I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill so that our clean energy industry can continue to grow and thrive,” added Hassan.

In order to lower our dependence on fossil fuels, we as a state, must begin to shift to more renewable energy sources. Continuing to expand our renewable energy production will be a major issue for the next Governor.

“Fixing the barrier that was holding back solar development in NH is a huge win for everyone who cares about good jobs and a clean energy future.   It’s one more sign NH is moving in the right direction, and we need to keep it moving forward,” said Executive Councilor and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern.

“Thanks to Governor Maggie Hassan’s leadership and the state legislature’s efforts, New Hampshire’s net metering cap has officially been raised—to double what it was. This is an exciting step in the right direction for renewable power and a great boost to our state’s growing clean-energy industry. And it’s exactly the kind of innovative, job-creating public policy I’m excited to build upon as Governor,” said Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly.

However not everyone is so eager to lift the metering cap or to expand our state’s solar energy production.

The law, HB 1116, had broad bipartisan support in the Senate, with “yea” votes coming from 9 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

State Senator and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester voted “nay.”  Forrester was one of only four senators who voted against the bipartisan bill boosting economic development and helping to fight climate change.

Unfortunately for the Granite State, she’s not the first GOP gubernatorial candidate to try to kill renewable energy investment. She’s merely the latest.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, unlike Executive Councilor Van Ostern, has consistently opposed renewable energy projects, voting against $4.1million in funding for a wind farm, $1.2million for a solar project in Peterborough and$450k for the city of Portsmouth for two solar projects. Sununu is also a climate change denier, telling Concord News Radiothe jury is still out” on climate change.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas shares Forrester and Sununu’s opposition to renewable energy. Last year, Gatsas opposed a Manchester Solar Project and lobbied two executive councilors, including Sununu, to vote against the project.

“It’s sad but not surprising that the Republican candidates for governor have much more in common with the Koch Brothers than with everyday Granite Staters,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “We need a governor who will continue investing in our future.”

Earth Day: Where Do NH’s Gubernatorial Candidates Stand On Climate Change

Earlier today we looked at where the Congressional Representatives stand on Climate Change, now we are going to look at the NH Gubernatorial Candidates.

As the most powerful position in the state, the NH Governor’s race will have a significant effect on how we will combat the real effects of Climate Change.

“As a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, I’ve spent years studying climate change’s impact on the Granite State and I can tell you this without a doubt: climate change is the gravest threat facing our state, country and planet today” said UNH Environmental Science Professor Barrett Rock in a recent phone interview.

Governor Hassan has helped push New Hampshire to the top 5 states for renewable energy. She fought tirelessly against the GOP controlled legislature to ensure NH remained a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Governor Hassan also pushed for expanding our green energy production facilities and expanding solar throughout the state.

“From our towering mountains and forests, to our farms, lakes and Seacoast, New Hampshire’s beautiful natural resources are critical to our economy, our environment, our people, and our way of life. On this Earth Day — and every day — I’m proud that in New Hampshire, we are leading efforts to fight to combat climate change, to ensure a cleaner environment and to build a stronger energy future that will help our citizens, businesses and economy thrive,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.

“In addition to our commitment to controlling harmful emissions that negatively affect our air, our water, and our earth, we must continue to support important programs such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program that provide vital funds for land conservation efforts and protect wildlife habitat, water quality, and other natural resources. I look forward to continuing these efforts and working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to build on the progress we’ve made in New Hampshire and fight to protect our environment for generations to come,” added Hassan.

Governor Hassan has already announced that she will not seek reelection to the corner office to challenge Senator Ayotte for the US Senate seat.

Several people have already filed in the race to replace Hassan. Some accept climate science while others, not so much.

Colin Van Ostern visits the new solar array in Durham

Colin Van Ostern visits the new solar array in Durham

“Combatting and reversing climate change is one of the most critical challenges facing us. New Hampshire has a tremendous opportunity to do more – and doing so is a tremendous economic opportunity as well,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic Candidate for Governor.

“Securing a cleaner, greener future is why I’ve been on the front lines for years fighting to secure community solar projects in Peterborough, Durham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth; working to fix the net metering cap on solar development; conserving critical open places in our state; and working in the private sector for employers like Stonyfield yogurt who prove we can create economic growth while taking on climate change,” added Van Ostern.

Likewise, Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, wants to expand NH’s use of renewable energy sources.

“We need leaders who will tackle the challenge of climate change head-on. That’s why, as governor, I will fight to encourage New Hampshire to help power America with 50 percent clean energy by 2030. I’m proud to make the commitment to growing clean energy jobs in the Granite State, promoting energy conservation, building a lasting energy net-metering system without caps, and empowering our communities to generate more of their own electricity from clean sources—but meeting that goal will take a statewide push for a cleaner future.”

“Our burgeoning green energy economy is a vital part of our future. It’s about pushing for more innovation and creating jobs, two principals upon which our campaign is built.”

“As Governor, I look forward to working tirelessly to protect New Hampshire’s natural majesty and leading on this critically important issue,” Connolly concluded.

On the other side of the ticket the Republicans are already talking about taking NH backwards on environmental issues.

During a recent phone interview with State Senator David Watters, he explained where the Republican Gubernatorial candidates on environmental issues.

“Executive Councilor Sununu must be the only MIT graduate with a degree in environmental engineering, and is definitely one of the only Americans left, who says, ‘the jury is still out’ on climate change. Equally as bad, he says ‘there is no scientific consensus’ proving climate change is real and man-made,” said State Senator David Watters.

97% of environmental scientists agree that Climate Change is real, man made and pose a threat to our existence.

As an Executive Councilor, “Sununu has used his office to obstruct investment in New Hampshire’s renewable energy,” added Watters. Sununu attempted to block new solar arrays that would harness the power of the sun to lower energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

Watters continued, “Nearly $6 million in renewable energy investment would never have been granted if Sununu had his way.”

Another big name in the GOP race is current Mayor of Manchester, Ted Gatsas.

“Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas shares Sununu’s opposition to renewable energy. Last year, Mayor Gatsas opposed a Manchester Solar Project and lobbied two executive councilors—and yes, one was Sununu—to vote against the project,” stated Watters.

The New Hampshire Legislature also has its share of climate deniers. One of those is State Senator Jeanie Forrester, who has also tossed her name in the hat for Governor.

“Senator Jeanie Forrester voted to abandon the Regional Greenhouse Gas Coalition that brings several states and Canadian provinces together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Watters.

Protecting the air we breathe is important to the future of our state. “We all know that state and country lines don’t stop pollution from going over them, and this coalition aims to make sure that we all have safe air to breathe,” concluded Watters.

On this 46th anniversary of Earth Day we need to take a hard look at who will be leading our state for the next two years. Will that person be one that expands renewable energy or will that person be one that is willing to bow down to the Koch Brothers and the fossil fuel producers’ lobbyists in allowing corporations to pollute our air and water.

Addressing the growing energy needs and the rising costs can all be addressed by shifting away from fossil fuels and moving completely to self-sustaining renewable energy. Not only will this help the people of New Hampshire but will help all Americans breathe a little easier.

On Earth Day, A Reminder of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Big Oil and Dirty Energy Support

 Oil and Gas Contributions to Ayotte Put Her in Top 10 of All U.S. Senators 

Concord, NH – According to Open Secrets, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is one of the top ten recipients of oil and gas contributions in the U.S. Senate this cycle. Ayotte has received $142,025 in funds from oil and gas thus far. Donations include those from Koch PAC, the largest oil and gas campaign contributor in the nation — even surpassing ExxonMobil — as well as ExxonMobil itself and Chevron.

The Koch network in particular is investing heavily in Kelly Ayotte: Koch Industries is listed as Ayotte’s 12th largest contributor over her political career. In the last six months alone, Ayotte has received $10,800 from billionaire conservative and oil refining magnate David Koch and his wife Julia, in addition to the Koch’s hosting a $10,000 a plate fundraiser for her in Manhattan. Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity has already spent more than $1 million attacking Ayotte’s campaign opponent, Governor Maggie Hassan.

At the same time, Ayotte finished the 113th legislative session with a 100% score from Americans for Prosperity on selected “Energy and the Environment” bills, and has an 83% lifetime score from the Koch-funded group. In 2012, Kelly Ayotte voted against repealing $24 billion in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies operating in the United States; the same bill Ayotte opposed would have instead promoted renewable energy and alternative fuels. 

“Kelly Ayotte and her dirty energy friends want to keep our country dependent on fossil fuels instead of growing a clean energy economy that increases jobs and protects our environment,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “On Earth Day, and every day, our elected officials should look for opportunities to provide stewardship and vision to protect our natural resources, rather than cozying up to polluters. There is no doubt that dirty energy contributes significantly to climate change. Politicians should address that problem head-on instead of looking to Big Oil for handouts.”


Sources:

Koch Donations: Open Secrets, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, Donors – Career, Accessed 4.21.16 Donations include Koch Industries’ PACs, individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families.; FEC, Friends of Kelly Ayotte, Filing thru 3.31.16; The CT Mirror, Koch brother hosting fundraiser for Blumenthal rival, 10.19.15; WMUR, Updated New Hampshire Primary Source: Record first-in-nation primary turnout confirmed; 542,459 votes cast, 2.20.16; Americans for Prosperity, Scorecard: Sen. Kelly Ayotte, 113th (2013-2014) Score on Energy and Environment (100%), Accessed 4.21.16; Americans for Prosperity, Scorecard: Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Lifetime Score on Energy and Environment (83%), Accessed 4.21.16; Senate Vote 63, 3.29.12

Earth Day 2016: An In Depth Look At Climate Change And NH’s Congressional Delegation

Happy Earth Day

Where New Hampshire’s Elected Representatives Stand On Combating Climate Change 

Today we celebrate the “46th anniversary of the 1st Earth Day, in which 20 million Americans–Democrats and Republicans–took to the streets to rally for a healthy, sustainable future and demonstrated against the deterioration of the environment” said Catherine Corkery, Executive Director of the NH Sierra Club.

“Unfortunately, today the bipartisan spirit of the original Earth Day has been lost, even as the evidence mounts that not only is our planet experiencing Climate Change on an unprecedented scale, but that everyday Americans care deeply about laying the foundation for a sustainable future for their children and grandchildren,” continued Corkery.

Across the nation Democrats have been pushing for better regulations to protect our natural resources and reverse the effects of Climate Change on our planet.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have rejected scientific proof of the effects of Climate Change and have pushed legislation to further strip away our natural resources.

“In 2014 Politifact looked at the 278 Republicans in Congress and found that only 8 had publicly accepted climate change science” state Corkery.

“As a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, I’ve spent years studying climate change’s impact on the Granite State and I can tell you this without a doubt: climate change is the gravest threat facing our state, country and planet today” said UNH Environmental Science Professor Barrett Rock.

“Persistently high temperatures are causing the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica to melt at an accelerated pace, causing rising sea levels on the Seacoast and presenting a major threat to New Hampshire’s economy,” added Rock.

What are we to do? Is there anything that can stop this global trend that will eventually eradicate life on Earth as we know it?

“We need to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind, implement energy efficiency measures and start weaning ourselves off high carbon use. We need to use treaties like the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rock advised. “We need to elect public servants who not only recognize that climate change is a clear and pressing danger, but who are willing to actually do something about it.”

Currently New Hampshire has two Democrats and two Republicans representing us in Washington D.C. The two groups could not be further apart on climate issues.

 

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte3This week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) wrote an op-ed for the Nashua Telegraph claiming, “Earth Day should be every day.”

Ayotte tries to make the case that because she likes hiking and running through Mines Falls Park that she is hero to the environment. The truth is that she has been working to repeal environmental protections since she took office in 2011.

In 2011, Ayotte voted for legislation the League of Conservation Voters called at the time “the greatest legislative assault ever on the environment” after the Koch Brothers political arm urged senators to do so. The bill included the “virtual elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” the premier fund dedicated to preserving land and water sites across the United States for both conservation and recreation.

And when it comes to air pollution, Ayotte voted for an amendment that would “repeal the scientific finding by the EPA that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the environment,” and permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, again after the Koch Brothers’ political arm urged senators to do so. During her first 4 years in Washington, Ayotte voted with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.

“Kelly Ayotte’s political spin is out of line with the reality of her true environmental voting record and not fooling anyone,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “New Hampshire voters know that Ayotte has consistently stood with special interest backers like the Koch Brothers against protecting our planet and conserving New Hampshire’s natural resources. Her attempts to pretend otherwise fly in the face of reality.”

Ayotte is facing fierce competition from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan for her seat in the Senate. Hassan is a strong proponent of green energy and taking immediate action to combat Climate Change.

As a State Senator, and now as Governor, Hassan has pushed for New Hampshire to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower carbon pollution.

“From sponsoring New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and helping pass the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in the State Senate, to signing legislation to strengthen those efforts and establish a long-term Energy Strategy as Governor, Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment,” said Campaign Communications Director Aaron Jacobs.

“Under Governor Hassan, New Hampshire was ranked among the top 5 states for renewable energy,” said NH State Senator David Watters.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen-021109-18432- 0009This week, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) celebrated a significant environmental win as the Senate finally passed the Shaheen-Portman Comprehensive Energy Efficiency bill, which was introduced in the Senate over five year ago. The bill pushes for expanded use of green energy solutions to address our growing energy problems and works to reverse the effects of Climate Change.

The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, identifies and addresses obstacles limiting the use of clean energy technologies, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the power quality and resiliency of the electric grid. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of Energy to identify the technical and regulatory barriers to integrating clean distributed energy sources on the grid, and to strive to overcome these barriers through research, stakeholder working groups and demonstrations.

Shaheen has put Climate Change and protecting the environment at the top of her legislative agenda. She recently praised the Paris Summit to address Climate Change.

“This agreement is an unprecedented achievement and affirms New Hampshire’s leadership reducing carbon emissions,” said Shaheen. “‎The United States must capitalize on this success and continue to lead by supporting stronger policies that speed the transition to a clean energy economy.‎ We owe it to our children and grandchildren to start today so we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change, while building strong communities resilient to the changes already underway.”

 

Congressman Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

In the US House, Congressman Frank Guinta (R-01) is one of the many climate deniers in the US House. Guinta denies Climate Change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue,” Guinta said.  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

During the 2014 GOP Primary Congressman Guinta was videotaped saying “No” to the question, “Do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?”

During Guinta’s time in office he voted to expand drilling rights on the outer continental shelf, block the EPA from regulating Greenhouse Gases, license new nuclear plants, and supported the Keystone Pipeline.

Guinta even went as far to oppose any legislation relating to Climate Change.

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

Ann kuster head shot LGNot everyone in Washington believes that Climate Change is a hoax.

In 2013, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) took a bold stance to push for more action addressing Climate Change.

“We have a fundamental responsibility to confront the challenge of climate change head on – for the health of our environment, the strength of our economy, and the future of our children. I am eager to partner with members of both parties to take responsible, common sense steps that will reduce carbon emissions, make America more energy independent, and advance the development of renewable energy sources. Inaction on these fronts is simply not an option.”

Kuster continues to push back against proposals that will harm our environment like the Northeast Energy Direct (Kinder-Morgan NED) pipeline.

Yesterday, Kinder-Morgan announced they would no longer pursue the construction of the NED pipeline.

Kuster was overjoyed to hear the news.

“I was proud to lead the fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, which, after countless site visits, forums, and meetings with constituents, I deemed a poor deal for New Hampshire – both for our natural environment and the safety of our neighborhoods.  While we must pursue smart energy policies that lower energy costs for New Hampshire, this particular project would have taken advantage of our natural resources without providing sufficient benefits for our state,” said Kuster.

Earth Day 2016

Earth Day - No YearThis Earth Day we need to look at who is representing us in Washington and what they are doing to reverse the effects of Climate Change. We need local and national policy changes that work to clean our air and reserve all of our natural resources for generations to come. As the 2016 elections are quickly approaching we must use our voices by electing representative who will make positive change in Washington, not work to repeal all of the environmental gains we have made in the last 46 years since the first Earth Day.

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