By Julia Brida
The purpose of HB 1797 was to enforce a surcharge on environmental contamination. It would tax companies fifty percent of the cost price in hopes to shift their lack of concern for the repercussions of their actions. This bill would be in regards to any air, land, and water pollution that are harmful to humans, other species, and the environment.
I find this bill to be very important, and I support Representative Jim McConnell’s dedication to protecting the environment through it. Since I am currently studying public health, this bill would be beneficial for the general publics well being, something I value. Companies from neighboring states, like Vermont, are coming into New Hampshire because of the more lenient environmental regulations. They take advantage of the lack of requirements, and thus are polluting and harming the public’s resources. This in turn harms the public’s health. They end up drinking polluted water, or breathing in polluted air, which can result in diseases, cancers, and in the longer-term could lead to death.
It is the companies’ fault in terms of polluting a public space, not the citizens that live in it. Therefore, they should not be the ones having to pay the price. This bill would support enforcing stricter requirements and regulations on companies coming into New Hampshire to take advantage of the state. I am all for the HB since it will help protect public health and promote better well being.
The New Hampshire Public Health Association, a stakeholder for this bill, proposes viewpoints on environmental protection, and say they are in favor of regulation that protects citizens. They believe that clean air, water and land are essential to the public’s health, which is exactly what this bill would support. As a citizen of New Hampshire, I would hope that my state is doing its best to protect my well being and making sure I had clean drinking water or air.
The bill did state that the taxed portion would be put into the state general fund. It did not state the specifics of what the money would be used for, which I think is important to elaborate. I think to reach more people’s interest, the bill should specify what they would use the money for, such as more funding for public schools or installing more parks and walking trails, to name a couple. It lacked some specific details, which might be why people aren’t fully supporting the bill. It should influence a rewrite of the bill. The intentions of it are strong; the writing is just a little broad.
I firmly believe it is the polluter’s responsibility to pay, and have awareness of their impact. By initiating a surcharge, it would become a motivator for the affected companies to be more conscious and develop alternative, safer practices that will not result in them polluting. Again, it is not fair to citizens to have to suffer because a company doesn’t express much concern for the pollutants they are producing. I’m sure if it directly impacted their families or themselves, then they would agree that their actions need to be accounted for and held to a higher standard.
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.