By Clarissa Backus
The House Bill 1797, Adding a 50 percent charge to all amounts assessed to persons liable for costs of containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air and soil pollution, would have been a positive affect for New Hampshire’s environment. I believe this bill should revised because it will overall create a better community for the state and ultimately, our planet. Climate change has become a major crisis in our world today and if we don’t start to change the way we live our environment will be non-existent. I do understand why the bill was not passed however, in my opinion persons who pollute our water air and soil should be held liable.
I reviewed the New Hampshire’s stakeholders view on the bill, this includes: New Hampshire residents, industries currently in NH, potential incoming industries, government agencies, and insurance companies. The variety of these stakeholders are very important when determining the success of this bill. The stakeholders who were not for the bill were the business industries, both large and small. Having them pay a 50% charge will heavily affect their business development putting them at a competitive disadvantage and for smaller productions possibly put them out of business.
I believe this bill should be revised by lowering the percent charge. Lowering it to 25% or 15% is not much of a threat as 50%. I think more companies will agree to this charge because even though they still have to pay for the containment, cleanup, and remediation of the pollution, it won’t seriously affect their business development. Also, with a 15-25% charge this will make companies stricken their environmental health and safety rules and procedures. As a safety major I have learned the importance of everyday security and the wellbeing of company’s measures. Over the summer I interned at a medium size chemical company and recognized the real risk and liability that must be taken in every step of their operation. Two years ago, this company had an accident that greatly impacted them however, it was a realization that their EH&S department needed to be more on top of their daily processes and they have since improved their safety principles and have been accident free. This leads me to believe that with a charge on the line, companies will be more cautious with their actions.
As I mentioned before, I believe all persons responsible for the contamination of water air and soil, should be held liable for their actions. Having a 15-25% charge is just a start, in the future the charge can slowly be increased and we can eventually get to 50% or even more. In order to make a change we need to take these baby steps, not just for this bill but when taking on all environmental issues. This bill will put in place the responsibilities that companies should already be liable for, and create safer procedures in everyday operations, and ultimately create a better community for the state of New Hampshire.
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.