By Stefan Lazaro
In class, we have been reviewing the House Bill: 1610. This bill requires sellers of real property to disclose certain information concerning environmental hazards. I am fully supportive of this bill. However, I have a few recommended revisions for this bill. To start off, I would decrease the one-mile radius that is required and reduce it to a half of a mile. Reducing this distance would make the investigation process more efficient. In the meeting reviewing this bill, a man brought up a good point that some houses regardless of the location of waste facilities, are not at risk because of their elevation in comparison to the facility, and I feel as though this reduction of required radius would eliminate more instances where elevation plays a role. In this bill, a popular chemical named PFC’s (Perflourinated Chemicals) is emphasized to be tested for, but the bill does not emphasize other common and hazardous substances which I think should be included. I would also suggest that the role of the seller to disclose information should be changed to the original realtor, and if they no longer exist, the current seller takes on the role.
I think this bill is extremely important because it is in moral interest to provide a buyer with all the details of their product. When selling a car, the seller should not leave out that the breaks are dysfunctional. However, a data base system needs to be made by the state that maps all current and previously existing facilities, including their time of construction through destruction, that is publicly accessible. Many people are unaware of hazardous sites located near them and do not have access to this information.
Due to property owner’s not being at fault for the contamination of their property by waste facilities, the state should be responsible for conducting the testing required for the seller to disclose. The state should not reimburse sellers for loss in property value due to contamination of property by state.
I think it would be helpful, but not necessary, to add the levels of PFC’s acceptable on a property as well as other popular contaminants. When lobbying the bill, a woman brought up that the bill lacks to define what levels of PFC’s are being tested for. This could cause problems for property sellers who have trace amounts of PFC's that are still considered safe levels which would still decline the value of the property.
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.