By Courtney Quick
New Hampshire House Bill 1797 was proposed to “add a fifty percent charge to all amounts assessed to persons liable for costs of containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air and soil pollution”. I think this bill has good intentions, but I am not surprised it got voted down at the House of Recourses, Recreation and Development meeting, because there are some limitations. The sponsor of this bill is representative Jim McConnel, along with 5 other cosponsors. The reason these representatives want this bill to pass is to prevent companies from moving to New Hampshire, where the environmental laws are less strict than some other states, like neighboring Vermont, and end up polluting with little consequences. If passed, this bill will require the Department of Environmental Services to make sure fifty percent of the amount of money a company spends on cleaning up their pollution is added to that cost, and that additional money would be put into the State General Fund.
I believe this bill would do a good job at preventing pollution in New Hampshire. I think it will make companies that are already in the state be very careful with what they are doing in order to not pollute, and I think it would have other careless companies, who were thinking of moving to New Hampshire because of the lenient environmental laws, to second guess that thought. However, I do think this bill has some flaws, which is why it was voted against. But, I personally think the pros outweigh the cons.
These flaws that I am talking about have to do with too high of a penalty. Representative Andrew Renzullo spoke for the house of Recourses, Recreation and Development when he said, “This bill would enact laws assessing a penalty against anyone found to have violated any one of nine environmental statutes and the rules thereof. The penalty assessed would be a surcharge of 50% of the costs the person or business would pay for containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air and soil pollution. So, an occurrence which might not even elicit a minor fine, like an accidental fuel spill or a sewage leak, could end up costing the individual or business an additional 50% over and above the cost of containment, cleanup and remediation. Fixing the failed sewage system that might have cost $20,000, will now cost an additional $10,000.” Because of this, the house believes that the bill might actually have a counterproductive effect, for example, it could cause companies to clean up their pollution in a way that is as cheap as possible, because if they do a better job at cleaning, it would actually increase their penalty. They also think that companies might insure against accidental spills, so the penalty in this bill would probably not be covered and would have no effect.
The house of Recourses, Recreation and Development makes good points, but I think all the limitations they mention can be fixed with some adjustments, for example, maybe making this penalty only apply to more severe acts of pollution. After those adjustments, or even before, I think having this bill passed is better than not having it at all.
Majority statement from Resources, Recreation, and Development Committee.
(Febuary 2nd, 2018). Retrieved from http://www.nhscienceforcitizens.org/the-conversation1
New Hampshire House Bill 1797. (2018). Retrieved from
By Julia Yates
House bill 1797 aims to deter large companies with a high potential to pollute from moving to New Hampshire in pursuit of lenient pollution regulations. If New Hampshire can strengthen its laws against pollution it will not be as appealing to large companies looking for an area where there will be little consequences for their contamination. By adding a 50 percent tax to contamination remediation costs it will force companies to think twice before considering New Hampshire as an easy dumping ground. This bill was prompted by the movement of Saint Gobain’s performance plastics plant from Bennington, Vt. to Merrimack, N.H in 2002. The motivation behind this move was that New Hampshire has laxer pollution regulations than Vermont. This bill hopes to prevent this from happening in the future by strengthening NH’s regulations and adding a 50 percent tax to “containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air, and soil pollution”. Although the bill seems to have the best intentions it does leave me with some questions and criticisms. The bill is extremely broad in some aspects and leaves some specifics to question.
One area of confusion is where the money from the 50 percent tax will go and who will benefit from it. In the bill it states that the money will go to the state’s general und where it can be allocated to different services within the government. My concern is that this may not be the most beneficial area for the revenue because it does not directly benefit the environment or those who are effected by the contamination that is being taxed. As a revision to this bill I might say that the money should be allocated to environmental services in the state to benefit. The money could then fund future clean-up efforts or water, land, or air tests to ensure that all the contamination has truly been remediated from the natural environment. If the revenue could support environmental causes it would be more in line with the positive environmental intentions of the bill.
As an alternative to giving the money to an environmental resource, the revenue could possibly go to those who were affected by the contamination. For example, if a large company spills hazardous chemicals and they find their way into the drinking water of private properties in the area the people living in these homes could be compensated. These chemicals can have dangerous effects on the health of civilians. I believe that using the revenue of the tax to help the individuals and families affected by the contamination could be a more important use of the money.
Additionally, the bill leaves me questioning if the companies would be the ones to fund the 50 percent tax or if the remediation and tax will be covered by insurance companies. This was not made clear in the bill and could raise some issues. The bill also does not fully explain who will monitor companies to ensure that they pay the additional tax. In order for this policy to work it must have a set plan of how it will be enforced. I believe that in order for this bill to be sound it needs to be explained in further depth. Many of my questions could be addressed if the bill was not so broad and if it went into more description about the specific processes it would take to instate.
I support the intentions of House Bill 1797 and I believe that it could have potential if it was tweaked in some ways. Most of my personal issues with the proposal come from how broad the bill is. In theory the additional 50 percent tax could deter companies from polluting but I don’t think it could logistically work with the limited information given in the bill.
By Madelyn Thomas
House Bill 1797 was designed to keep unethical, polluting businesses out of New Hampshire, and could be an important part of legislation once revised. It’s important to compare the costs and benefits of all aspects of the bill- such as companies coming to New Hampshire might be valuable in the sense that it brings new job opportunities, but when it becomes a public health or ecological crisis, this is when the costs outweigh the benefits. We need to have a law in place that would prevent larger companies from taking advantage of New Hampshire’s pristine environment and putting our people in danger. That is why revising and continuing to push for HB 1797 to be passed in future years is essential; at the same time, understand certain aspects of the bill need to be changed in order for it to achieve the goal, and not hinder economic growth.
One of the first recommended revisions for HB-1797 is to specify where the money goes when it enters the general fund. The general fund money is budgeted for services from education to correctional facilities and the Fish and Game Department. The bill would need to outline specifically where these funds would go, and instead of just being deposited into the general fund, be invested to further aid in damage remediation. For example, being put towards helping the environment, if the money was collected in that case because of the environmental destruction. Or to help pay for medical expenses if the pollution impacted human health.
Secondly, the meaning of pollution needs to be more defined. There are several forms of environmental remediation a company can have that could be subjected to the 50% charge the bill proposes. For instance, if a dairy farmer’s waste or a vegetable farmer’s pesticides impacted the wildlife around the farm, they would have to pay for remediation in some circumstances. This bill impacts more than just the “big bad companies” coming to New Hampshire specifically to take advantage of our lenient environmental laws.
Another form of environmental remediation a company could have that would lead to them to pay a 50% charge would be accidental spills and contaminations. Companies should prepare for the worst as best as they can, but can’t always control the cause of needing cleanup. If the reasons for remediation can be proven preventable, the business should have to pay, but not if the accident was unavoidable. Part of the purpose of the bill is to push businesses to have more methods to prevent accidents from happening, and it’s imperative that we keep with motive while not to completely obstruct the business from running per usual. Consequences of having a law that is vague on what is considered a pollution, and not factoring in accidental damage would likely take a toll on small companies and may even cause them to go bankrupt.
Implementing the three revisions previously stated would keep our economy healthy, while still holding businesses accountable for environmental destruction. Having HB-1797 in place would strengthen the environmental regulations in New Hampshire and ensure public safety.
By Maya Holschuh
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The piece of legislation I decided to discuss is HB 1797-FN-A. Working with environmental regulations in the state of New Hampshire, this bill will require violators to pay an additional fifty percent charge to all pollution clean ups. The additional money would be deposited in the State General Fund. There has been concern that this bill will impact the revenue and/or expenditure of the Department of Environmental Services, but this is not the case. It will however continuously increase revenue to the general fund. Environmental pollution can come in all different forms, such as; air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, etc. The purpose of this bill is to both control and prevent all pollutions. HB 1797-FN-A supports environmental protection and is a big step in ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
The Earth's climate is constantly changing for better or for worse and it stops for no one. The root cause of the rise in temperature is humans. We are emitting gases into the atmosphere that are blocking heat from escaping. We heat our homes and run our vehicles and power industries with fossil fuels. The United States gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels (The National Academy of Sciences, 2018). Compared to 1990 levels, the burning of fossil fuels has increased by more than 50%. Carbon dioxide levels today are the highest they have ever been in the past 800,000 years. Humans are on a path of destruction for our Earth, but the real question is are we doomed? Everyone is fully aware of all of the information stated above. We know what we are doing, we know what we have done, and we know the consequences. So why do we keep doing it? Why do humans continuously treat our Earth with such disrespect? I believe the answer is simple. We are able to mistreat it because we see ourselves as separate from it. The majority of mankind believes they are the most superior entity of the universe. They are stuck living in their own bubbles, forgetting to realize we rely on everything else to stay alive. We need nature for the simplest of things like breathing. Nature supplies us with our water, food, and shelter. Man cannot exist without nature, but nature can exist without man. People need to start living with this mindset. We need to remind ourselves of the true value nature gives us. Nature gives us, us. We are just as much nature as nature is itself. I believe the majority of decisions humans make are based off of how much we are truly intune with ourselves. There are four main realms: emotion, body, mind, and soul. We are self alienating creatures and because of this we are disconnected in all four realms. A lot of self alienation comes from the way we are brought up or simply because it is everywhere we look. Media portrays these messages to minds young and old that stick with us everywhere we go. We can’t help but feel like we are under constant pressure because of the world we have created for ourselves. Our society has gone down the wrong path and whatever society does we do too. However, with all this being said, we can make steps to go down the right path. We can change our mindset and educate ourselves of the current and detrimental environmental crisis. In order to go down the right path, we need to let the public know that their environmental injustice is not okay and they will pay. The beginning of an environmentally sustainable future starts with HB 1797-FN-A.
I support HB 1797-FN-A because I am passionate about protecting our environment. I have accepted the problem, I have accepted that humankind has cause, and I have accepted that we will bounce back from it. This bill is an incentive. We are highly intelligent individuals and we have spent years and years of our lives researching our Earth. We have the technology and we have the knowledge, so now it’s time we use it. This bill is just one of the many answers we have been looking for for so long. If this bill in itself does not give everyone hope, I am not sure what we are looking for. The crisis of climate change is the opportunity for us to further our knowledge of what we are really capable of. We must prove to not only ourselves but nature too that we are worthy of this Earth. If we can work together, hand in hand, just like the forces of nature do everyday, then we will be just fine. We must make something out of our mistakes. Learn from them. Grow from them. Thrive. We are not all that different from nature, let it lead by example. Storms pass and then comes a rainbow. Flowers wilt and then bloom again. HB 1797-FN-A is both one of the many rainbows and one of the many blooming fields of flowers.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018). “Our Energy Sources: Fossil Fuels.” What You Need To Know About Energy. Retrieved from http://needtoknow.nas.edu/energy/energy-sources/fossil-fuels/
By Heather Chrimes
House Bill 1797-FN-A is a piece of legislation that aims to reduce the number of large companies that deal with or produce hazardous pollutants from moving to NH in hopes of looser contamination laws and regulations. The bill adds a 50 percent charge to all amounts assessed to persons liable for costs of containment, cleanup, and remediation of water air and soil pollution (2). While doing a critical review of this bill, there were a few things that needed addressing. For instance, what exactly qualifies as waste or pollution? Who decides the cost of the cleanup? Where does the fifty percent charge go? And how environmentally friendly is this bill is actuality. The first, and most crucial step in reviewing this bill is to look at the stakeholders.
Analyzing who is at stake whether this bill is passed or not is necessary for making a fair and just decision. With this bill, the EPA water division and land division, along with homeowners and farmers are all at stake for major loss if this bill is not passed. Homeowners have already been affected by water contamination; cases of pets, children and elderly consuming cancerous pollutants from drinking water in the Swanzy area have been appearing for some time now. Big companies are the only ones to take a major loss from the passing of this legislation, while the general fund is the one to reap benefits. Companies like Sturm Ruger gun factory have skated by on NH’s loose contamination regulations. Ruger didn't start reporting production related waste until 1991, and as of 2002 have a “cancer risk” score of 50% for air and water releases (1). Implementing this bill would put companies like Sturm Ruger at a financial disposition, which more or less is the intention. The issue, for some, is that the money they lose is not given back to those affected.
This bill is designed to help protect New Hampshire’s environment and citizens from harmful pollutants. But how much does it actually help? While this bill does make it harder for companies to practice harmful waste methods, it does not truly stop them. It is a post-tragedy solution, it does not fully prevent contamination. To make matters more complicated, the money that is charged goes into the general fund. By charging companies for their mistakes, the State can collect large sums of money to put into the general fund to give back to the people. In the end, the bill is meant to benefit the people of New Hampshire. The General fund helps provides services such as the Resource Protection and Development among other groups. However, it is important to be aware of where the money goes. The general fund could be used to benefit the state government and its representatives, as they too are stakeholders. Which begs the question, can this money be spent in a way to benefit those affected the most?
A revision that might make this bill go further in helping the environment would be to ensure that the money companies forfeit goes to the EPA, or better yet directly to the communities harmed by the waste. As it stands, this bill is not very active. It still allows for loose regulations, just at a cost. If New Hampshire’s representatives are okay with companies polluting our air, soil, and water, with the promise to pay the clean up, then the money should at least be spent in the most vital way to ensure that our communities and land is in fact clean and healthy.
Works Cited 1. Environmental Releases for STURM RUGER & CO. INC. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/facility.tcl?tri_id=03773STRMRGUILD 2. McConnell, J. (n.d.). HB 1797-FN-A - AS INTRODUCED. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/lsr_search/billText.aspx?id=1083&type=4
By Lauren Peyser
An act being proposed recently is called HB 1797-FN-A. It would add a 50% tax upon any costs for containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air, and soil pollution. The added tax would be put into the State General Fund. The issues within this bill is the lack of specificity for pollution charges. Many people could be affected by accidental leaks and leeching, but it would deter possibilities of neglecting to keep our environment clean.
I think the proposed House Bill 1797-FN-A is an idea with much hope for a safer and cleaner living in New Hampshire by deterring possible environmentally hazardous pollution. It would add an indeterminable increase to the State General Fund, which could later be used to also benefit the State. The bill would also prevent companies from staying out of New Hampshire for lack of laws and regulations regarding pollution in the environment.
When the bill was first introduced to me in my college course, Environmental Governance, I was quite excited. I think it would overall be beneficial to the environment here, and for the state in general, even monetarily. It provides me with a sense of hope and optimism for the environment in the State of New Hampshire. As an Environmental Studies Major at Keene State College, I find myself often worrying about our local environment and the effects that humans and industries have upon it. The implementation of an act preventive towards negatively affecting the local environment is something that I find to be important. To me it is another step towards a cleaner future, which is often pushed aside; The belief that one person can make a difference is not commonly pursued in my experience. I’ve often heard people say things like “it’s fine it’s just one bottle,” but continue to say such things the next time. An act against larger scale offenses of pollution, encompassing all residents of New Hampshire could make a major difference in the State of New Hampshire’s environment.
To pass the bill, which was denied, I think that a revision to specify more clearly what acts of pollution require the 50% tax is needed. For example, local farmers could have accidental manure runoff, and they would pay 150% of the cleanup costs. This could severely hurt the small operation if costs of remediation are large, and be in negative effect to the local farmers. Paying for the damages done to the local environment by being held responsible for cleanup costs is a lesson on its own to implement further protection against manure runoff. Contrary to this example, the bill would be preventing large companies from taking advantage of loose laws and regulations in New Hampshire, so it would have a very positive effect.
Although there are issues within the bill, I strongly believe that this is a step towards a cleaner environment in New Hampshire. I think that the bill should be revised, and later implemented in the hopefully near future.
By Kyle Carignan
The piece of legislation that I will be referring to is House Bill 1797-FN-A. This legislation adds a 50 percent charge to the cost of remediation and environmental clean up by the persons liable. This would be a good bill for the state of New Hampshire and its citizens. Our environment in this state is something that makes our state beautiful and brings in revenue. We have plenty of wildlife, state parks, and most of all people to protect and this bill is a step in the right direction. If companies feel they can come here and pollute more on our soil because it is cheaper than surrounding states then something should be changed. Our state should not be a loophole in the system. This bill would promote companies to be cleaner in their business processes and I believe will ultimately create a higher standard of accountability among companies across the state. People may see this as a steep charge for companies that are not financially able to pay, in this case these companies should reconsider their processes and make the changes necessary. The goal of this bill is a cleaner New Hampshire. People may also see this as revenue lost from companies that may turn to a different state for their business and in response to this I believe the people of New Hampshire would rather have a cleaner place to live. When I eventually have a family I want us to live in a place where the environment around us is healthy, not a place that is recovering from the neglect of our government to protect what we have now. In fact I rather live in a much cleaner and healthier state. This bill could also help encourage companies to put more money into researching new methods for their company to use in their processes of handling their waste. A close example to me of a company polluting in New Hampshire happened close to my house. There was a laundromat that improperly disposed of chemicals and those chemicals leaked into the soil on the property leading to the closing of the business. The property is also no longer safe to build on and the habitat is ruined because of this. This company was likely not concerned about pollution at the time and if this bill was in place I feel there is a possibility that different actions could have been taken. I know it’s a possibility but if businesses are worried about paying a hefty fine then their likely to change for the better. Overall this bill is for the betterment of the state and would make a statement to companies eyeing our state for potential abuse.
By Patrick Rooney
HB1797 is a bill that was proposed in New Hampshire by Representative Jim McConnell. This bill would fine an additional 50 percent of the costs of environmental contamination, cleanup, or remediation to those found responsible for it. The money that is taken from the company or corporations that are polluting will then go back into the state’s general fund to help New Hampshire with future payments. This is a bill that I think is good and that I support for a number of reasons.
One major reason I support this bill is because it would obviously help protect the environment. Preserving our natural world is important for maintaining the states wildlife and biodiversity. New Hampshire also has a huge tourism industry that relies on the preservation of the state’s environment, with many of the attractions being outdoor activities like hiking or skiing. Many people like to go to New Hampshire because of how much nature there is and the lack of many urban environments. If companies just start polluting a lot because the state doesn’t have many laws against it, over time it will give a reason for people not to come to New Hampshire because the state won’t be as clean.
Next, I also support the bill because of how it will help protect public health. There have already been recent problems of people getting cancer from contaminated water supplies in New Hampshire and we don’t need this to continue. Costs from the damage to people’s health from long term exposure to contamination of certain chemicals is often not thought of and is hard to put a price on. However, the people of the state deserve to feel safe using water supplies that are said to be clean and to breath air that isn’t heavily polluted. Protecting people’s health and safety should be a big priority for the government and everyone in New Hampshire benefits health-wise from less pollution and contamination.
Another reason I support this bill is because of the message it will send to companies/corporations. Some companies have been moving into the state because they found our environmental laws less strict than those in other states like Vermont, for example. If the bill passed however, companies would realize that if they want to pollute in New Hampshire they will face some expensive financial penalties. Additionally, this bill could set a great example for other states as a way to protect their environment and health.
Finally, my last reason is the fact that this 50 percent fine on companies would give the state a significant amount of money. Of course, the state government having more money is going to be beneficial to New Hampshire’s citizens in some way as state governments tend to spend a good amount of money on things that will help their people. Things like roads and bridges could be improved which would further protect public health. I think the government having this money is going to be more beneficial to New Hampshire’s citizens and visitors than the money being in the hands of a company that is polluting the environment. As you can see, these are the reasons I support the bill and I hope I brought up some points you would not have otherwise thought of.
By Maia Roderick
The bill I will be discussing states that a 50 percent charge for all pollution clean-ups will be addressed to the perpetrator.
When I first began to study New Hampshire’s House Bill (HB 1797-FN-A), I was not internally clear on how I felt about this bill. From an economic standpoint I feel that the bill may be detrimental to New Hampshire's economy. I say this because, when I was conducting research for my group essay I stumbled upon countless cases of companies leaving their current state in order to pursue their business somewhere, with less regulations. Due to the fact that it is often extremely expensive to have a business somewhere with strict environmental laws. Therefore, I feel that if this bill is passed, we will run the risk of the businesses wanting to move to a place, such a down south, where the laws are not as strict as the north’s.
From an environmental standpoint I feel that this is an amazing idea. It makes me happy to see the state of New Hampshire taking action and responsibility, and I believe that every small action helps. However, even with the bill in place we will still breathe the toxic air from a smoke tower in Alabama, and we will still eat fish from the ocean’s dirty water due to chemicals coming from other countries. I would love to feel positively about this bill, and say that it is a great place to start, and as I said before, I feel that every small thing will help in the long run. Although, I honestly feel that this bill will do more harm than good for the state of New Hampshire. These companies who contaminate our air, water, and soil will not disappear, or totally change their ways because a bill is passed. It is simply too expensive for some companies to become greener, and they must keep their heads above water. These industries will migrate, they will pack their bags and relocate somewhere else with less strict regulations. Yes, the blood will not be on our hands, we will not be responsible for the downfall of our environment, here in New Hampshire. Nonetheless, the contomation will still be split into the rivers, and let into the air, and our vegatiables will be grown in contaminated soil. I feel that this bill will not greatly benefit the environment, rather it will only severely hurt the economy in New Hampshire. With that being said, as a state we must do what is not only best for the environment, but what is best for the economy as well. I do not think it is right to contimentate our planet, although I do feel that we must way our options and look for the pros and con’s and personally, regarding this specific bill, I see more cons for the state as a whole, than pros.
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.