By Isaiah Bates
Thousands of government employees, institutions, and even civilians make up the interworking web that is the United States Government. Our political system is in place to establish laws that protect and enable our citizens and make sure everyone has a fair shot at what is called the “American Dream”. We entrust our votes to individuals who we believe will create change and have a positive impact in the political system. This change can be introducing bills as stated earlier such as providing farmers with government subsidies, or increasing funds to help repair infrastructure or to improve our education sector. On the other hand, bills that have an adverse effect such as reducing environmental protections for state parks, or tax breaks for gas companies are also regularly introduced into the house and senate. This is why when a bill is introduced that has a positive impact or benefits for civilians its essential to highlight this piece of legislation and help to make sure it becomes law.
One bill that fits this positive category is house bill 1610 proposed by Representative Jim McConnell (NH-R) on January 3rd 2018. This bill in my opinion is an exemplary view of expanding protections for individual’s health, and providing transparency when it comes to the market or real estate. This bill proposes that land owners who are selling land or a house must disclose environmental hazards such as; underground storage tanks, auto salvage yards, hazardous waste generators, and remediation sites. To further this, they must also provide evidence of clean water, with dates of recent water tests and a full history of any problems that may have occurred previously. Real estate itself is a lucrative business that generates billions of dollars a year, and with billions of dollars generated its inevitable that dishonesty or scams have occurred. For example, to sell a house that’s been on the market for years an individual might drop the price dramatically to entice buyers and then sell it. However, during that dramatic price drop what the seller “forgot” to mention was the raging asbestos in your child’s room, or the tap water you’ve been drinking has had elevated levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) in the past. That’s why this bill proposed to protect buyers in New Hampshire is very crucial and people who support this bill should fight to see it become law. The other reason I support this bill and think its important is the environmental aspect to it.
Not only does it ensure the protection for buyers, it also helps create a secondary hand to the environment. If this bill becomes law individuals who live around any of these hazards and want to be future land sellers are going to have to become environmentally conscious. They will either help restore these sites or ensure that these hazards don’t occur in the future. If this bill becomes law its going to be very difficult to get around these hazards, so I can see a real positive impact on the environment stemming from this legislation. Another aspect to think about in this bill is the snowball effect it could produce, what if other states want similar protections for the environment and their citizens? This bill potentially has the power for strong environmental protection in New Hampshire, now imagine say if Maine, Connecticut, or California was to enact this? The potential is enormous, thus why I think its essential that people back this bill as it supports protection for everyday people and the environment which we desperately need.
NH Science for Citizens
Department of Environmental Studies
Keene State College
Keene, NH 03431
A project of students and faculty at Keene State College in collaboration with local NH state representatives.