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New Report Shows Significant Gains Could Be Made If Governor Sununu Reduces Power Plant Pollution

Tilton, NH – As the federal government attempts to roll back programs that limit air pollution, Toxics Action Center, Environment New Hampshire and other partner groups released a new report showing that Governor Sununu could increase the benefits of reducing power plant pollution. The report, Doubling Down on Climate Progress, concludes that increasing the emissions reduction goals from 2.5% to 5% doubles the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative would cut dangerous pollution from power plants in half by 2030 and double our investment in clean energy – enough to weatherize 380,000 homes, or well over half of the homes in the state.

“Right now, we’re counting on Governor Sununu to take action to protect our health and the climate,” said Dan Westervelt, Vermont and New Hampshire Community Organizer with Toxics Action Center. “Tomorrow, on April 20th, the public comment period of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the regional clean air and climate protection program, will be opened. We are urging Granite Staters to call on Governor Sununu to double the strength of the program so we can reap the benefits we receive from less pollution and more clean energy.”

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”) is the best regional clean air and climate protection program in the country. This program limits dangerous pollution from power plants in New Hampshire and across the region – helping to slow the warming of our planet. It also fuels investment in clean energy by making polluters pay to pollute.

The report, co-authored by the Frontier Group, illustrates the opportunity before the governor. It finds that doubling the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (compared to simply keeping the program on its current trajectory) would:

  • Avoid up to an additional 100 million tons of pollution over a decade, the equivalent of making more than 1 million homes run entirely on solar power.

  • Help New Hampshire invest twice as much in clean energy – on the order of $84 million over ten years, or enough to weatherize 380,000 homes.

“Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline served as a wakeup call for us to fund and support RGGI,” said Pat Martin, an activist who worked on stopping Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline with the community New Hampshire Pipeline Awareness Network (NH PLAN). “To tackle the climate crisis, we need to quickly shift away from dirty fuels like coal and gas, and move to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative can help us get there faster.”

The report also reviewed the impressive benefits the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has achieved for New Hampshire since it was created in 2005. Key findings include:

  • It has helped to cut global warming pollution from power plants 67%. That is the equivalent of retiring 1.6 coal-fired power plants. On average, power plant pollution in the region has been falling by almost 5 percent per year. In 2016, pollution went down by 4.8 percent.

  • It has helped to clean our air, saving 10 lives over its first six years in operation.

  • It has driven a $116 million investment in clean energy, energy efficiency and consumer benefit programs in New Hampshire. Across the whole region, those programs have locked in more than $4.6 billion in long term savings on our energy bills. That’s an incredible $3.5 in savings for every dollar spent on clean energy.

“The energy efficiency project that we did at the Winnisquam School District took advantage of approximately $31,000 in (RGGI-funded) rebates for lighting and variable frequency drive pumps” said former State Representative of Belknap 4, Ian Raymond. “Of the funding for the project, $31,770 came from RGGI. We replaced old pumps with newer energy efficient pumps with Variable Frequency Drives, and replaced approximately 2400 lighting units with energy efficient lights. All of the efficiency upgrades all together has saved the taxpayers $1.38 million so far and is projected to save over $5 million over the life of the project.”

In February, more than 500 organizations, businesses, health professionals, lawmakers and community leaders from the Northeast called on Governor Sununu and other regional governors to double the strength of the program and close several loopholes.

“As good as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is, we can make it better,” said Madeline Page, of Environment New Hampshire. “We need Governor Sununu and governors across the region to accelerate our progress in the fight against global warming, and magnify the important benefits that come from reducing pollution.”

 

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.

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.

Governor Hassan Joins Bipartisan Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future

 CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to build a more innovative, cleaner energy future that creates jobs, boosts New Hampshire’s economy and combats climate change, Governor Maggie Hassan today joined a bipartisan group of 17 governors to announce the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future, a joint commitment to take action to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices and a modern electrical grid.

“We know that our businesses and families need clean, reliable and affordable energy to continue to grow and prosper,” Governor Hassan said. “In New Hampshire, our growing clean energy economy is creating jobs and helping lead the way toward a more affordable and more innovative energy future, and this accord will build on our efforts, increasing bipartisan collaboration with other states to share best practices, to address our shared energy challenges, and to ensure that we continue to expand energy options for our businesses and families and advance our clean energy economy.”

The accord provides participating governors – a bipartisan coalition together representing 127 million Americans – with a platform through which their states will collaborate, learn from one another, and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policymaking. The accord reaffirms New Hampshire’s commitment to continue to diversify energy generation and expand clean energy sources, modernize energy infrastructure, and encourage clean transportation options. 

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which has brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, including reducing harmful emissions and helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean energy economy. She also helped enact the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law and consistently fights for clean air and water. 

As Governor, she has signed bipartisan legislation to help maximize the benefits of RGGI for New Hampshire ratepayers, to update the RPS law and to establish a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy. Under Governor Hassan’s leadership, New Hampshire has also joined the Under 2 MOU – a global compact that complements the state’s efforts to combat climate change – and New Hampshire was ranked fourth in the nation in renewable energy. 

The full text of the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future is available here, and statements from each governor participating in the accord are available here.

Governor Hassan Urges House Committee to Oppose Legislation Prohibiting State Implementation of Clean Power Plan

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to protect the environment and to ensure that New Hampshire remains a leader in combating climate change, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee in opposition to House Bill 1659, relative to the implementation of the clean power state implementation plan, which would prohibit a state implementation plan. 

“New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.” 

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which has brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, including reducing harmful emissions and helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy. She also helped enact the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law and consistently fights for clean air and water.

As Governor, she has signed bipartisan legislation to help maximize the benefits of RGGI for New Hampshire ratepayers, to update the RPS law and to establish a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy. New Hampshire also joined the Under 2 MOU in October 2015, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide that supports the state’s efforts to combat climate change. 

“At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.” 

In November 2015, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office joined 24 states, cities and counties in filing a motion to intervene to defend the Clean Power Plan.

The full text of the Governor’s letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee is below.


February 2, 2016

The Honorable Robert Introne

Chairman, House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee

Legislative Office Building, Room 304

Concord, New Hampshire 03301

 

Dear Chairman Introne and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in opposition to HB1659, a bill that would prohibit the Department of Environmental Services from expending funds to develop or implement a state implementation plan under the Clean Power Plan.

New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions. Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.

At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward. Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.

From our mountains to our lakes to our beautiful seacoast, New Hampshire’s natural resources are critical to our economy and define us as a state. Addressing climate change and the harmful impacts of carbon emissions are economic imperatives. We must continue to work to address these issues while ensuring that we have the tools to invest in new energy resources as we develop our own plan to implement the Clean Power Plan.

I respectfully urge you to vote this legislation inexpedient to legislate. Thank you for your consideration.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan

Governor

 

 

Governor Hassan Announces New Hampshire Signs Under 2 MOU Climate Agreement

 CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to protect the environment and reduce harmful emissions that lead to climate change, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that New Hampshire has signed the Under 2 MOU, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide to limit the increase in global average temperature to below two degrees Celsius.

“The science is clear that greenhouse gas emissions and other man-made pollutants are the key contributors to climate change, which threatens our environment, our economy and our way of life,” Governor Hassan said. “We know that a healthy environment and economic development go hand-in-hand, and that’s why doing everything that we can to address climate change is an economic imperative for our state.”

Signatories to the Under 2 MOU agree to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels or limit to two metric tons CO2-equivalent per capita, by 2050, the same as identified in the 2009 New Hampshire Climate Action Plan (2009) and in line with the 2001 New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan target of 74-84 percent below 2001 levels. The Under 2 MOU does not include a mandated path to meet reduction targets.

“New Hampshire has long been a leader in efforts to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change, and signing the Under 2 MOU is consistent with our current goals and efforts to address climate change,” Governor Hassan said. “The Under 2 MOU allows flexibility for individual signatories, and it offers new opportunities for collaboration and to share information on best practices in a number of areas regarding climate change.”

In addition to the emissions reduction goals, the Under 2 MOU calls for parties to aim to increase energy efficiency and develop renewable energy; to coordinate on transportation issues and the development of electric vehicle infrastructure; to collaborate on climate change adaption and resilience efforts; and to coordinate in the areas of scientific assessments, communication and public participation.

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which has brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, including reducing harmful emissions and helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy. She also helped enact the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law and consistently fights for clean air and water.

As Governor, she has signed bipartisan legislation to help maximize the benefits of RGGI for New Hampshire ratepayers, to update the RPS law and to establish a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy.

New Hampshire joins California, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington as American states to sign the agreement. The Under 2 MOU has now been signed or endorsed by 49 jurisdictions representing 19 countries and five continents, collectively representing 499 million people and more than $14.7 trillion in GDP. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the world’s second largest economy behind only the United States. For more information, visit http://under2mou.org/.

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.”

Granite State Progress Asks ‘Who Is Really Funding The Josiah Bartlett Center and The NH Watchdog?’

New Report Reveals the Koch-Fueled, ALEC-Allied Corporate Agenda Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Don’t Want Public to Know About

New Hampshire report part of multi-state expose on ALEC’s use of front groups to push national corporate agenda at the expense of middle class families 

Report highlights examples of Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog misleading policymakers, press, and public about role as paid lobbyists for corporate interests  

CONCORD, NH – This morning Granite State Progress and the Center for Media and Democracy formerly released the new report “Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers” detailing how state-based Josiah Bartlett Center and the New Hampshire Watchdog are not independent and unbiased as they claim, and instead work hand in hand with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other corporate-funded special interest groups to advocate for public policies designed to benefit their corporate funders.

“Our research shows how the Josiah Bartlett Center and the New Hampshire Watchdog work hand in hand with ALEC to act as paid lobbyists for controversial, corporate-driven policies, without disclosing those ties to the public and instead actually working to deflect increased public scrutiny of the corporate corruption of our legislative process,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Josiah Bartlett Center and the NH Watchdog are just a different face for the same Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda that is attacking New Hampshire middle class families and hurting our communities.”

The new report details how the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog falsely claim to be independent, local operators when in fact they are part of the State Policy Network, a national Koch-funded, ALEC-allied network of organizations. The Josiah Bartlett Center, NH Watchdog, and other State Policy Network member groups advocate for a national agenda driven by out-of-state corporate actors. Be it the economy, environment, education, workers’ rights or access to health care, State Policy Network member groups promote policies that are not only designed to fatten the bottom line of their corporate funders, but are consistently harmful to New Hampshire.

“Granite Staters need to know how these groups misrepresent themselves and their agenda, and how much influence they maintain over lawmakers,” said Rice Hawkins. “We will continue to shine a bright light on ALEC, front groups like the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog, and the lawmakers who are doing their dirty work rather than acting in the best interests of our state.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • The Josiah Bartlett Center is a member of the State Policy Network and the NH Watchdog – embedded at the Josiah Bartlett Center – is run by the far-right Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Both networks have close ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch brothers, and the Heritage Foundation among others.
  • The legislative agenda of the Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog align closely with other Koch-funded groups such as Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, and the organizations play a specific role in the overall strategy for advancing these objectives.
  • Staff of both organizations lobby on legislation at the state level – spending time producing reports, creating statistics, talking points, “expert” testimony, videos, and a raft of other materials – yet refuse to file as lobbyists or disclose their ties. Former NH Watchdog staffer Grant Bosse even testified on legislation before a committee as a ‘reporter’ speaking on his own behalf without disclosing that he had been paid with corporate donations to issue reports attacking the policy in question.  (pages 20-21 of report)
  • Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog have received direct funding from the Koch family fortune despite their claims otherwise. The staff members for both the Josiah Bartlett Center and the NH Watchdog wrote opinion columns in the past two years in which they denied receiving Koch funding and attempted to deflect criticism of other corporate-funded entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Bad Bartlett report provides irrefutable evidence that the Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog intentionally mislead policymakers, press, and the public about the funding they receive to advocate for corporate-written legislation. (pages 8, 13-14, 32-35)

Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy (CMD): “While State Policy Network members go on television and represent themselves as nonpartisan, objective scholars on issues of public policy, in actuality SPN is a front for corporate interests with an extreme national policy agenda tied to some of the most retrograde groups in the country, including the billionaire Koch brothers, the Waltons, the Bradley Foundation, the Roe Foundation, and the Coors family.”

“The bottom line is these organizations of the rich, by the rich and for the rich are representing themselves as groups that are looking out for the best interests of everyday, working class Americans and it’s just a blatant lie.  What we’re doing is trying to bring some transparency to the damaging work they’re doing on a daily basis.  From policies that promote polluting the air and water to the destruction of our public education system and a tax system that benefits their rich donors, what these organizations are doing is shameful and it’s time that someone brought this to light.”

Bill Duncan, Founder, NH Advancing Public Education: “New Hampshire residents have a right to know who is writing their laws and who is advocating for them. The Josiah Bartlett Center has a nice-sounding, local name, but the fact that they go to such great lengths to hide their connections to groups like ALEC or funders like the Koch brothers while advocating for the very policy agenda supplied by those groups and funders should raise the eyebrows of anyone.”

Today’s report was released as a follow-up to previous reports by Granite State Progress and the Center for Media and Democracy exposing how corporate-funded ALEC’s agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. ALEC “model bills” that have been introduced in New Hampshire by ALEC representatives benefit corporations at the expense of everyday Granite Staters.

The report can be found online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

 

NH Advocates Praise President Obama’s New Carbon Pollution Standards

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New Hampshire Groups Hold News Conference In Support of New Carbon Pollution Standard and Applaud President for “Backing Up His Strong Words With Strong Action.”

Concord, NH – Today, a coalition of New Hampshire groups, businesses and elected officials supporting federal clean air and climate change safeguards held a news conference, to highlight the support of Granite Staters for the historic Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon pollution standard for power plants announced by President Obama this week.

The President’s decision to take action to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants will significantly address, for the first time ever, the largest unlimited source of carbon pollution, namely carbon pollution from power plants.  Power plants contribute 40 percent of the U.S. industrial carbon pollution.  In addition, the President’s plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy sources like wind and solar and investment in energy efficiency to further cut carbon pollution.

Jonathan Gregory, a business owner of SunRay Solar in Concord, NH said, “The President’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy demonstrates the leadership we need to compete in the new global economy. This is a win-win situation for all — investing in the clean energy economy while protecting the health and environment of New Hampshire for generations to come.”

Heather Fournier of Revision Energy in Exeter, NH affirmed that people and businesses alike in New Hampshire want more clean energy choices that will lower their impact on the environment and their energy bills. The Exeter business has expanded services to Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts over ten years.  Prioritizing carbon cutting could mean more business and creating more jobs.

Jonathan Mitchell, Training Director IBEW Local Union 490 JATC, said, “These efforts — along with measures to help ensure the smooth transition of workers and communities — will help create jobs all across America while also protecting our communities and stimulating investment in clean technologies and products made here in the United States.

At our Concord training facility we have trained hundreds of electricians. Training consists of AC DC theory, electronics, motor controls and fire alarm to name a few.  Not only do we train on the mechanics of the trades, we cover photovoltaic systems (solar panel installation), building automation and lighting design which fall right in line with the President’s plan.

This type of work isn’t new to us as we’ve been doing it for decades. We have the apprentices and journeyman more than qualified for the work the President outlined in his plan. We are ready, willing and able to handle any job in New Hampshire.”

Catherine Corkery Chapter Director of New Hampshire Sierra Club said, “We applaud President Obama for laying out a broad and common-sense plan for meeting our obligation to protect future generations from climate change.” She continued, “Americans are feeling the impacts of climate change already, right here in New Hampshire in fact, from destructive storms to rising sea levels.”

In thanking the President, Environment New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Sierra Club say this action goes a long way towards fulfilling the “obligation to future generations” that the President outlined in his Inauguration and State of the Union before this week’s climate announcement.

Steve Dzubak, Field Organizer with Environment New Hampshire, said “On Tuesday, President Obama responded to the millions of Americans who have spoken out on behalf of their communities and their families, urging him to lead on climate.  All of us who have felt the effects of global warming, or simply worried about what’s in store for future generations, can take comfort in knowing that President Obama has put the nation on a path toward a cleaner, healthier and safer future.”

Tom Irwin, VP and director of Conservation Law Foundation’s New Hampshire office, said  “We are pleased to see the Obama administration taking action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – pollution that will have dire consequences for our children and grandchildren if not addressed.” He continued, “It’s been more than five years since the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that carbon dioxide emissions are harmful pollutants that endanger the public health and the environment, and that are subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.  We welcome the administration’s commitment to finally implement requirements under the Clean Air Act and reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.  These are much needed actions that are long overdue.”

Link to President’s Plan 

Text of Presidents Speech

National Fact Sheet from White House

NH Fact Sheet from White House

New Hampshire Impacts

  • In 2012, New Hampshire experienced a total of 17 broken heat records, 12 broken snow records, and 11 broken precipitation records.
  • Each county in New Hampshire has ragweed pollution, and Hillsborough County suffers from both unhealthy smog levels and ragweed.
  • By late century, Concord and Manchester could experience about 70 days over 90°F and more than 20 days over 100°F.
  • About 70% of the state’s counties now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of climate change.
  • By late century, New Hampshire is expected to see a 20-30% increase in precipitation.
  • New Hampshire has declared disaster 16 times since 2000 due to severe storms and flooding.
  • Sewer overflows are a health risk for 6 communities, including Manchester and Portsmouth.
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