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NH Delegation Questions EPA on Public Disclosure of Risks from PFOA and PFOS

Washington, DC – On Friday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) regarding reports in a recent New York Times article that described the EPA’s efforts to weaken chemical safety regulations that could affect access to public information on the risks of emerging contaminants, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), chemical materials that have contaminated drinking water in several New Hampshire communities.

“We are deeply troubled by reports and an October 21st 2017 New York Times article that described how in spite of objections from scientists and administrators in multiple offices within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), political appointees at the agency weakened recent regulations promulgated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), our nation’s principal chemical safety law. We are concerned that these actions not only ignore Congressional intent but may also deprive Granite Staters of critical information about the risks that chemical materials, particularly perfluorinated compounds, pose to their families’ health,” wrote the delegation.

The delegation continued, “In particular, we take issue with the reversal of EPA’s approach to a chemical substance’s ‘condition of use’…This change has far-reaching consequences and may limit the agency’s evaluation of legacy chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).”

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) like PFOA and PFOS have emerged as a widespread contamination in drinking water sources in several southern New Hampshire towns and were responsible for the closing of a major water supply well located at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. While the health effects of these chemicals are still being determined, studies have linked PFC exposure to developmental damage, certain cancers and immune system dysfunction.

In the letter, the delegation questions what effect the new rules will have on tracking the health consequences of PFOA and PFOS and therefore appropriately regulate these harmful materials.

Senator Shaheen and Congresswoman Shea-Porter secured amendments to their respective chambers’ annual defense authorization bill that establishes the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of those exposed to PFCs in their drinking water. Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen joined with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to introduce the bipartisan Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which addresses barriers that limit the EPA response to emerging contaminants. Additionally, as the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen included a provision in the subcommittee’s annual appropriations bill to identify research gaps in addressing the potential health implications associated with exposure to emerging contaminants. The House unanimously adopted an amendment written by Congresswoman Shea-Porter appropriating $7 million to launch the national health impact study authorized in the House and Senate-passed defense bills.

As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan urged the EPA to set a lifetime health advisory for certain PFCs to help states assess the safety of drinking water. In addition, then-Governor Hassan worked with state agencies, federal partners, and residents in the area to make blood tests available to everyone potentially exposed to PFCs, as well as to raise awareness about the health risks of these emerging contaminants and to expand monitoring of wells outside of the Coakley landfill footprint. Furthermore, Senator Hassan formed the Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster to help create an organized response to the health and environmental concerns that the Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster has raised. In the Senate, Senator Hassan has built on those efforts, cosponsoring legislation that requires the EPA to develop a maximum contaminant level for perfluorinated compounds, 1,4 dioxane, and perchlorate in public water systems across America within two years of the bill’s enactment. Both Senator Hassan and Senator Shaheen urged the U.S. Air Force to clean up water supplies at the former Pease Air Force Base that are contaminated with PFCs.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have worked tirelessly to hold the EPA accountable for actions that undermine efforts to inform the public about the potential health implications caused by exposure to emerging contaminants. Earlier this month, the senators sent a letter to Acting Administrator Deborah Szaro questioning the timing of the EPA’s disclosurethat determined the Coakley Landfill does not pose an “unacceptable human health risk.” Last week, the EPA responded to the senators’ letter. Senators Shaheen and Hassan will continue to demand much needed answers from the EPA on behalf of New Hampshire families.

The letter to Administrator Pruitt can be read here and below.

10-27-17_NH delegation letter to EPA on TSCA

EPA Union Blasts Pruitt Over Budget Testimony

AFGE says Administration’s proposed budget will hurt community health across the country

WASHINGTON – In response to today’s testimony from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about the proposed budget for the agency in 2018, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:

“More than 40 years ago, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we live on. It was a critical moment as local and state governments didn’t — and still do not — have the capacity, incentive, or resources to address issues like cross-state pollution. And for the last four decades, working people at the EPA have dedicated their lives to fulfilling the agency’s mission, and protecting community health in this country.

“It is absolutely outrageous to me that Administrator Pruitt supports a 31 percent cut to the EPA. It’s the only agency that keeps America’s air clean and drinking water safe. How can he think that reducing more than 20 percent of the agency’s workforce, cutting essential programs, and rolling back regulations will help citizens of this country?

“Administrator Pruitt and the President want the American people to think that these cuts – and the rollbacks of life-saving regulations – are good for our country. They’re not. Study after study has proven that regulations put forth by the EPA have saved lives and money, and have actually spurred innovation and created jobs.

“For example, the Office of Management and Budget found that from 2000 – 2010, regulations cost between $44 – $66 billion annually. Comparatively, those very same regulations had an annual benefit ranging up to $651 billion.

“Working people at the EPA take no sides when it comes to politics. They only want to follow through on their agency’s mission. They’ve dedicated their careers to making sure we all have air and water that is free of dangerous pollutants.

“If we want to continue to protect generations of Americans from air- and water-borne illnesses, we must fight against the President’s 2018 budget, and save the EPA.”

Shaheen, Hassan Call for Reversal of Proposed EPA Cuts That Would Devastate Americans’ Clean Air and Water

SENATORS: Trump’s pledge for clean air and water is “meaningless” when followed by proposal for drastic cuts that would undercut EPA’s core mission 

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of 36 Senators in opposing President Trump’s proposal to inflict a more than 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget.

Expressing “extreme concern” over the cuts, the Senators wrote to appropriations leaders, “During the President’s February 28, 2017 address to Congress, he pledged to ‘promote clean air and water.’ Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget and a 20 percent reduction in its staff. If enacted, this funding cut would effectively eliminate the EPA’s ability to execute its core mission to protect public health and ensure citizens have clean air, clean water, and are protected from hazardous waste and contaminants.” 

The Senators highlighted many areas of concern where the proposed cuts would significantly harm communities across America—from reducing clean air and clean water grants and cutting enforcement against polluters, to cutting funding for Superfund sites by 30 percent, to entirely eliminating efforts to combat climate change and clean up major regional bodies of water, like the Great Lakes and the Columbia River Basin. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has insisted that states should be the primary protectors of the environment. However, this proposed budget would drastically cut grants that are crucial for states to protect their clean water and clean air, monitor health impacts of pollution, and reclaim toxic-contaminated sites throughout the country.

“We urge you to oppose these drastic and dangerous cuts, and support continued funding for the EPA,” the Senators concluded.

The letter was signed by Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

The full text of the letter is copied below.

Dear Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairman Leahy:

We write to express our extreme concern over the drastic cuts President Trump proposed in FY2018 funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the President’s February 28, 2017 address to Congress, he pledged to “promote clean air and water.” Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget and a 20 percent reduction in its staff. If enacted, this funding cut would effectively eliminate the EPA’s ability to execute its core mission to protect public health and ensure citizens have clean air, clean water, and are protected from hazardous waste and contaminants.

As the Senate works to finalize FY2017 appropriations and develop legislation to fund the federal government in FY2018, we urge you to oppose these cuts.  The EPA must receive funding and staffing levels that ensure the agency can fulfill its mission to protect the environment, reduce pollution, and safeguard public health.     

Unfortunately, instead of maintaining environmental protections, President Trump’s FY2018 budget blueprint would simply eviscerate the EPA’s core functions and adversely impact state budgets that rely on EPA grants for environmental remediation. President Trump’s vision for the EPA includes:

  • reducing clean air and clean water grants programs and cutting enforcement against polluters by 23%,
  • instituting a 45% cut to core state grants programs which make up nearly 30% of state environmental agencies’ budgets and allow them to implement longstanding environmental laws,
  • eliminating the Energy Star program, which saved consumers over $34 billion in utility bills in 2015 alone, and over $430 billion since 1992,
  • cutting research funding by nearly 50%,
  • eliminating the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, which allows the EPA to evaluate impacts to human health from chemical exposure,
  • cutting funding for Superfund sites by 30 percent, making it harder to clean up and reclaim contaminated and polluted sites across the country
  • eliminating climate change research and partnership programs, international climate change programs, and defunding the Clean Power Plan,
  • eliminating geographic programs accounts that provide important resources to clean up iconic water bodies that provide millions of Americans with drinking water including the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, Puget Sound, the Columbia River Basin, the Long Island Sound, and the San Francisco Bay,
  • cutting all funding for the U.S.-Mexico border program that support cross-border drinking water and sanitations improvements in the southwest,
  • cutting all funding for Alaska Native villages and rural communities that helps provide critical drinking water and sewer systems, and
  • eliminating the Targeted Airshed Grants program, which provides tools for local states, governments and tribes to reduce hazardous air pollution.

This is not the vision of the EPA that Americans support. We must ensure that vital public health and environment protections are maintained and funded. We urge you to oppose these drastic and dangerous cuts, and support continued funding for the EPA in the FY2017 and FY2018 appropriations process.


Kelly Ayotte (Again) Is Only New England Senator To Oppose Clean Water Protections

waves water lake by -jonathan-beanCONCORD – As Kelly Ayotte continues her undisguised attempt to mislead Granite Staters about her record of voting to undermine New Hampshire’s environment and beautiful natural resources, Ayotte voted this morning to oppose efforts to protect clean drinking water for millions of Americans. Ayotte was the only New England Senator to oppose these important clean water protections.

Try as she might to fool voters, Ayotte’s dismal environmental record speaks loud and clear: Ayotte has voted with the Koch Brothers 94% of the time on the environment, including voting multiple times to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and voting to block the Environmental Protection Agency from ever having the ability to reduce greenhouse gases. And Ayotte’s record has earned her a lifetime score of 23% from the League of Conservation Voters – even worse than Scott Brown’s lifetime score of 38%.

“It’s deeply troubling that Kelly Ayotte was the only New England Senator to vote against against important efforts to preserve our beautiful natural resources and protect clean drinking water for millions of Americans,” said Maggie for NH Communications Director Aaron Jacobs. “But siding with corporate special interests over New Hampshire’s environment is nothing new for Ayotte, who has fought to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and votes with the Koch Brothers 94% of the time on environmental issues.” 

“Governor Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment, and in the Senate, she will fight to put the Granite State’s beautiful natural resources first, not special interests,” added Jacobs. 

New Hampshire Health Experts and Local Leaders Voice Support for EPA’s Finalized Clean Power Plan

CONCORD, NH – Following the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan today, local health experts, community leaders and faith leaders voiced their support for the EPA’s plan to combat climate change at a tele-press conference, and called on local, state, and national leaders to do the same.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan sets the first ever nation-wide limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants that causes climate change, and encourages investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. The plan, as part of the Clean Air Act, will reduce carbon from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels nationwide by addressing four areas, such as energy efficiency, reducing demand, and promoting renewable energy like wind and solar. States can create their own implementation plan or work with others to adopt a multi-state plan. Overall, the Plan calls for a 28 percent increase in renewable energy generation capacity in 2030.

It is likely that the flexibility of the Clean Power Plan will allow New Hampshire and the other Northeast states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to continue making climate advances.  

Speakers at today’s tele-press conference discussed specifically the health benefits of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

“The Clean Power Plan is the single largest action on climate that will protect people’s health,” said Katie Robert, President of New Hampshire Public Health Association. “It also presents New Hampshire’s leaders with the ability to protect the health of their communities by decreasing the dangerous power plant pollution that triggers asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths.”

Other participants on the call included: Steve Blackmer, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.

“We cannot wait another day: 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred in this century. We’re also seeing punishing drought, raging storms and devastating floods that will only worsen if we delay acting against climate change,” said Steve Blackmer, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. “The time to act is now. The way is with the groundbreaking Clean Power Plan. And the reason is we have an obligation to leave our children and future generations a safer, cleaner, more vibrant world.”

Signed Statement from NH Sierra Club, Environment NH, Union of Concerned Scientists, Mom’s Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation, and League of Conservation Voters: “Climate change is undeniable, and we are proud to support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan, which was finalized today, to help combat the greatest challenge of our generation. The EPA’s plan sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, and encourages investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This is an unprecedented opportunity for states to reduce the dangerous carbon pollution in our air and protect public health while also improving our economy.  We never have to choose between healthy communities and a healthy economy, and today we have more opportunities than ever before to achieve both.”

EPA Employee and Union Activist Discusses Cleaning Up Communities in new “I Am AFGE” Documentary

Brad Bradley AFGE steward Brad Bradley
joined federal workforce to improve environment

WASHINGTON – Growing up in Ohio, Brad Bradley became motivated to help improve the environment after watching Lake Erie nearly die due to industrial pollution and witnessing a massive fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in the late 1960s.

So Bradley got a degree in environmental engineering and joined the Environmental Protection Agency, which was created in 1970 the wake of the Cuyahoga River fire. Bradley’s career at EPA has empowered him to take action on environmental issues affecting all Americans, from improving air quality to cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

Bradley knows that the work he does makes a difference in people’s lives. In the 1990s, he was involved in cleaning up a Superfund site where a smelting plant had polluted the ground with lead. Nearly 20 percent of children exposed to the area had high blood lead levels before the cleanup, but that dropped to just 2 percent once the cleanup was complete.

“We did something good. It’s actually going to help those kids’ health, (and) the next generation that grows up there won’t have the issues that the one before it did,” Bradley says.

Brad shares his story in the latest documentary produced by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Brad and more than 10,000 other bargaining unit employees throughout EPA. The documentary series is part of AFGE’s year-long campaign, “I Am AFGE,” to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them every day.

“The employees we represent at EPA are stewards of the environment. They ensure the safety of our air, water, land and natural resources,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “They are also stewards of our economy, helping to clean up toxic dumps and transform polluted wastelands into thriving economic centers that create jobs where they’re needed most.”

Brad currently works on cleaning up Brownfield sites as coordinator of EPA’s Region 5 Superfund Greener Cleanup Program. Brownfield sites are former industrial sites that are less polluted than Superfund sites. By cleaning up these sites, they can be redeveloped and help spur economic growth, Brad says.

Brad’s story is one of 15 short-form documentaries being released by AFGE every three weeks through the end of the year, highlighting individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country.

All of the videos are being posted online and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also is being promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.

In addition, a special toll-free phone line has been established to record and share testimonials from federal employees or citizens who value the services that federal employees provide. The number to call is 1-844-IAM-AFGE (426-2343).

 “AFGE is proud to represent the women and men who are making our communities safer for current and future generations,” Cox said. “They and all other government employees have dedicated their careers to serving the public. This campaign is our way of thanking them for their service and reminding Americans of the valuable work they do.”

GET THE FACTS: EPA Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution (Via Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter)

Kyndby Powerplant (Image by Peter Madsen Flickr)

Kyndby Powerplant (Image by Peter Madsen Flickr)

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The Clean Power Plan proposal will help protect public health and fight climate change by cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30% below 2005 baseline levels by 2030.

“Climate change is real and we’re increasingly seeing its impacts on New Hampshire’s natural resources and our economy,” Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said. “That’s why New Hampshire’s small businesses support new guidelines to limit the amount of carbon pollution power plants can dump into our environment. These safeguards will protect our health and spur innovation, potentially creating thousands of jobs and making us more energy independent.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today released a package of facts, myths, and statistics about the new EPA guidelines. New Hampshire doesn’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment, and these numbers prove it. 


·         New Hampshire will have flexibility to meet the EPA’s target using the energy sources that work best for our state and by cutting energy waste. New Hampshire has been a leader in efforts to curb harmful emissions, and these rules will help level the playing field by requiring other states to do what New Hampshire has already done.

·         New Hampshire is already experiencing extreme weather. Since 2010, severe weather caused $47 million in property damage. In mountains along the Maine and New Hampshire border, snow depth decreased by 16 percent in recent years, affecting outdoor recreation industries like skiing and snowmobiling and contributing to a decline in moose due to a longer tick season.

·         Combatting carbon pollution will improve Granite Staters’ health, including the 10.2% of New Hampshire adults who suffer from asthma. In New Hampshire, there were over 1,000 hospital admissions for asthma in 2011, with an average charge of close to $12,300 for each stay.

·         Clean energy is already playing a role in New Hampshire’s economy. In New Hampshire, renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources increased more than 35 percent since 2009.

·         New Hampshire is already making progress. Between 2008-2011, carbon emissions from the power sector in the Granite State decreased by 25 percent.


Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no federal limits on carbon pollution levels. By 2030, the Clean Power Plan will:

·         Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year.

·         Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit.

·         Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits.

·         Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.


MYTH: JOHN BOEHNER: Climate change policies will kill 224,000 jobs and surge electric bills by $17 billion every year.

FACT: We rate his statement False. [Politifact, 6/2/14]

“Boehner said the EPA’s plan to regulate carbon emissions in existing power plants will increase electric bills by ‘$17 billion every year’ and ‘potentially put an average of 224,000 more people out of work every year.’ Those numbers are based on a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that came out before the EPA announced the regulations on existing power plants.

“That study wrongly assumed the administration would set a benchmark of reducing carbon emissions by 42 percent before 2030. The regulations released June 2 actually put forward a 30 percent reduction within that timeframe. The chamber itself told PolitiFact its estimates are not based on the goals as announced.

“But despite these serious flaws, Boehner used the numbers anyway.”


A recent Washington Post – ABC News poll found that the majority of Americans support efforts to reduce carbon emissions:

·         70 percent say the federal government should require limits to greenhouse gases from existing power plants.

·         57 percent of Republicans, 76 percent among independents and 79 percent of Democrats support state-level limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

·         The overall results are closely in line with Post-ABC polling since 2009, where between 65 and 75 percent have supported limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. 


Health organizations, business community leaders, and religious groups are also coming out in support of the EPA’s proposed standard:

·          “A coalition of 176 companies, including Unilever, Mars Inc. and clothing maker VF Corp., sent letters Monday to the Obama administration and congressional leaders to support the administration’s proposal to limit power plant carbon dioxide emissions.” [The Hill, 6/2/14]

·         U.S. Conference of Bishops: “We are pastors in a faith tradition that teaches, as Pope Francis recently stated, ‘Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.’ The best evidence indicates that power plants are the largest stationary source of carbon emissions in the United States, and a major contributor to climate change.”

·         The American Lung Association: “Power plant pollution makes people sick and cuts short lives. We are pleased to see significant health benefits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants, which would reduce the burden of air pollution in America.”


When asked if New Hampshire already had compliance with the EPA rule “in the bag”, state officials said that seems to be the case.

N.H. Likely Has Proposed Carbon Limits ‘In The Bag’
NHPR // Sam Evans-Brown
June 2, 2014

Under a proposed rule out of the EPA Monday, New Hampshire will have to come up with its own plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, many of the building blocks for that plan are already in place. 

The new EPA rule says that New Hampshire should emit 486 pounds of carbon per megawatt hour of electricity generated, and that, as of 2012, New Hampshire’s rate was 905 pounds per megawatt hour. 

Mike Fitzgerald with the New Hampshire DES says the 486 pound limit is “sort of akin to a speed limit of miles per hour.” 

That speed limit is more than four times less what comes out of an average coal-fired power plant,  which likely means New England can’t have many of those on-line and meet the new rate.

Responses to the proposed rule came swiftly. The only company that operates coal plants in New Hampshire, Public Service of New Hampshire, said in a statement that while it produced 70 percent less carbon in 2013 compared with 2005, “it may be challenging to grow our success.” Environmental groups like the Clean Air Task Force hailed the rule as “an excellent first bid,” and energy industry groups such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers claimed the rule would have far-reaching economic impacts. 

Compliant Already?

New Hampshire will try to figure out if it can get below the speed-limit proposed by the EPA with the variety of programs already underway.

For instance, Fitzgerald says the “ideal situation” would be if by simply pointing to the state’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state carbon cap-and-trade program, the EPA would give the state its approval.

RGGI places a cap on how much carbon dioxide can be emitted by power plays, which Fitzgerald thinks is “more analogous to a limit on the total length you can drive.” DES will have to translate the distance-driven cap into the speed-limit number that the EPA is looking for. 

The EPA also says energy efficiency programs and state renewable energy goals will be considered toward compliance with the proposed rule, though state officials say they are still working out how those factors will be weighed. New Hampshire has both efficiency programs and a “renewable portfolio standard” which says the state will get 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.

When asked if New Hampshire already had compliance with the EPA rule “in the bag”, state officials said that seems to be the case.

New Hampshire will have until 2016 to come up with the plan, and the rule itself won’t be finalized until June of next year.

Local Voices Praise New Federal Carbon Pollution Standards to Protect Public Health, Address Climate Change

Image by David J (Flickr)

Image by David J (Flickr)

Public Health Experts, Scientists, Businesses and Sportsmen Support Climate Solutions 

CONCORD, NH – Today, a variety of local voices praised newly announced federal carbon pollution limits for power plants, the leading cause of climate change, as important public health safeguards. Local people included scientists, a medical doctor, a fly fisherman and a local businessman. The chorus of support is no surprise as poll after poll demonstrates wide acceptance by the American people to address climate disruption with a carbon safeguard.

 “Carbon pollution standards are critical for protecting the health and safety of Granite Staters and other Americans who are breathing dirty air,” said Catherine Corkery, Chapter Director of NH Sierra Club, representing a variety of groups. “Regardless of the efforts of our small state and those in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, polluters across the country are allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air and it’s time for that to stop.”

 “The impacts of climate change are overwhelming. The time to act is now, to protect public health, address the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change and extreme weather, and move toward cleaner, safer energy that will grow our economy and create jobs,” concluded Corkery.

 Carbon pollution fuels climate change, triggers more asthma attacks and respiratory disease, worsens air quality, and contributes to more frequent, more destructive, more costly and more deadly extreme weather events. Our nation’s power plants are responsible for 40 percent of the carbon pollution in the United States.

 While many states and local communities, including here in New Hampshire, have taken action on climate change, this new federal safeguard will set commonsense limits on carbon pollution, inspire investment in infrastructure to protect communities from the climate change impacts they are already experiencing, and spur the kind of innovation that will power America with clean energy in the 21st century. The new safeguards will also give states flexibility to implement plans that increase efficiency, improve resiliency and remove carbon pollution from our air.

Governor Maggie Hassan:

“New Hampshire has been a leader in efforts to curb harmful emissions while encouraging the creation of innovative energy technologies that help our businesses succeed. It is important that the federal government recognize that states like New Hampshire have been hard at work on this effort for a number of years, and I hope that these rules will level the playing field by requiring other states to begin to catch up to us.

“It is also important that the Administration recognize that states need flexibility to develop their own policies to protect the health of our people and our economies. So I am encouraged that the new proposed regulations provide for state-specific solutions.

“Programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, leading to new innovations while generating jobs and saving energy costs. We look forward to continuing to work with our regional partners to ensure that we reduce the harmful emissions that lead to climate change, while also helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy.”

Statements from Local Voices

Art Greene of Littleton, NH and Trout Unlimited Ammonoosuc Chapter.

Mr. Greene has a Ph.D. in Particle Physics and has worked at several national laboratories in the U.S. and Europe. He retired from Brookhaven National Laboratory as a Senior Scientist where he assisted in the construction of several particle accelerators. In 1996 he moved to northern NH where he was Engineering Director for New England Wire Technologies, a company that manufactures many high technology wire and cable products including a key component for particle accelerators. His favorite places to fish in the Granite State include the Ammonoosuc River and Israel’s River.

“Many of us who love outdoor activities in NH have become increasingly concerned about climate change and its impact on us and on future generations.  I love the sport of fly fishing, particularly for Eastern Brook Trout which is a revered species where we live, and I have been very worried about increased water temperatures reducing the number of streams and rivers where Brook Trout can survive.  I am encouraged to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency will be imposing restrictions on carbon pollution from power plants, a key contributor to global warming.  This will help many forms of NH wildlife including our Brook Trout.”

Georgia Murray, Appalachian Mountain Club Air Scientist,

Ms Murray oversees AMC’s ambient air pollution monitoring program in cooperation with the NH Department of Environmental Services, EPA and U.S. Forest Service. She also works to advance science-based policy related to air quality.

“The good news is that air quality has improved, thanks to successful Clean Air Act cap-and-trade programs and Northeast states’ participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Mountain ozone levels have decreased, hazy polluted days have declined, and rain and cloud water are less acidic,” said Georgia Murray, Staff Scientist for the Appalachian Mountain Club. “The RGGI program has seen success with reduced CO2 emissions and increased energy efficiency investments that will pay off far into the future. AMC believes these same proven tools can be used to make much needed additional progress nationally.”

Lisa Doner, Research Assistant Professor with the Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University.

Ms Doner studies lake sediments to decipher past watershed changes. Her primary focus is on how climate interacts with other mechanisms for change including natural catastrophe (fire, flood, landslide, tsunami), human disturbance (agriculture, logging, development) and long-term trends (glaciations, tectonics, sea-level change). These projects are globally distributed, with lake sites in Utah, Maine, Baffin Island (Canada), Iceland and Turkey. Doner is also Chair of the Plymouth Conservation Commission.

“The EPA’s new rule matters because it gives us a handle on large point source polluters in our own country, including many that impact New England’s air quality. It also puts the US back in the global arena for discussing global problems caused by rising CO2 levels, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification. Finally, it demonstrates to our younger generations that, as a nation, we are willing to take action to protect their future. That reason to hope is probably the most important outcome of all.”

Phil Coupe, Co-Founder of Revision Energy

Phil is a managing partner of ReVision Energy, responsible for leadership in sales, marketing and strategic direction. An active member of the local community, he serves as Chair of Maine Audubon’s corporate partner program and on the board and of the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and is a long time mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sister program.

“This state cash rebate program is creating jobs throughout New Hampshire and ReVision Energy is a perfect microcosm of that job creation–in just 3 years we have grown from two employees to a total of 18 in our Exeter, NH facility and we are continuing to hire. The new EPA carbon pollution will build upon New Hampshire’s existing policy framework, enabling us to grow our renewable energy business and create good-paying jobs while reducing fossil fuel consumption and harmful greenhouse gas emissions. By investing in local renewable energy, New Hampshire is building a powerful clean energy economy that will position our state to be economically and environmentally sustainable as we make the inevitable transition away from finite, polluting fossil fuels.

Cristine Trayner , Marketing Director at Water Country, Portsmouth, NH.

Mrs. Trayner was honored to be crowned Mrs. NH United States 2013 and has used her title to promote sustainability initiatives to local businesses and her own employer Water Country.

“Local governments and tourism dependent businesses are on the front lines, but we cannot manage alone. The federal government needs to reduce the carbon pollution that is chiefly responsible for our changing climate. The EPA rule to lower carbon emissions at existing power plants is an important step in the right direction because the rules will make a difference and they do show the United States is a leader in global climate change action.”

The House GOP Is Acting Like Teenagers, As President Obama Submits His Budget

This Wednesday, President Obama is expected to file his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

Are you wondering why his budget is expected to include

Straight from an observer in DC, here is the best explanation I’ve heard so far:  Having President Obama support these policies is a guaranteed way to get Republicans to oppose them.

“Yes, we have reached that level of adolescence on Capitol Hill.”

Here’s the thing about teenagers: they don’t always think ahead to the consequences of their actions.
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