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.
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.