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.
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.