By Andrew Sgoifo
This is a proposed bill by Rep. Jim McConnell for New Hampshire. This 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. When trying to analyze this bill I can say that I am somewhat for it. This bill could benefit New Hampshire citizens and the environment. As New Hampshire has very lax regulations when it comes to contamination. Because of this proposed bill it could help deter companies that are here in New Hampshire now as well as those looking to move here from coming just because of those not so strict regulations. This would definitely help lower the amount of pollution in New Hampshire, especially what comes from those companies. Also, the money that would be collected from the 50 percent penalty tax could be used towards helping the environmental service with funding and what not.
As of today, the bill has been voted on by the committee that represents New Hampshire. They ended up voting against the bill 15-4. The bill is still going to the House of Representatives to be voted on. I personally don’t see it getting passed. The bill needs some revisions. First off, I think the 50 percent charge should get knocked down. I’m not sure what it should be, but 50 percent is pretty high. Maybe bring it down to 30 percent instead. Another problem I see with this bill is how vague it is when it comes to the specific violations they are trying to focus on. The bill should go more in depth about violations. The bill also mentions how all the penalty money goes in the state general fund. Money from the general fund is allocated to various services such as the Administration of Justice and Public Protection, Resource Protection and Development, Education, etc. The money is intended to go back to the state and its citizens to aid New Hampshire as a whole, however there may be other areas that could benefit more significantly from the revenue of the tax. Like focusing on the environment. I don’t understand why a bill trying to benefit the environment wouldn’t give most of the money to environmental services. All the money doesn’t have to go towards environmental services, but I believe a good portion of it should. Something to note is that no other state in the United States have fines like the one in this bill. So, this is something new that could take some time to adjust it in order to get it passed as a bill.
In conclusion this bill has a good foundation to make an impact on New Hampshire. I can see it helping the citizens and environment for the better. Some revisions can be made though. It will surely need to be revisited in order to make it perfect. Pollution isn’t good for New Hampshire’s environment and the bill is one step in the direction of reducing this.
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.