As explained in the write-up from the New Hampshire advocacy group, Citizen’s Alliance, Republicans in the New Hampshire house have put forward a bill, HB 386 that proposes to lower the tax burden for businesses in New Hampshire.
Unfortunately as stated in the write-up below, this “burden” is only borne by the largest and wealthiest businesses in the state. These businesses most often are not New Hampshire based or originated, but large global businesses. They will benefit from this cut but New Hampshire residents will have to make up for it. It amounts to a deliberate shift of income upward and out of the state of New Hampshire and the tax burden downward onto New Hampshire residents.
The libertarian wing of the Republican party loves to cry about the costs of government and the burden on New Hampshire businesses. But this argument has no basis in fact and instead relies on a myth created during the Reagan years based on the “trickle down” effect that all citizens would supposedly enjoy.
The UK’s The Guardian’s take on the Laffer curve (they suffered Reaganomics under Thatcher) : So the Laffer Says Tax Cuts for the Rich?
Paul Krugman weighs in : The Laffer Test (somewhat wonkish)
Economist’s View: A forum for economists, this post giving a summary of economist’s general support for the Laffer Curve (hint: there isn’t any) : Laughing at the Laffer Curve
[We aren’t posting those articles in support of the laffer curve or supply-side economics from the Cato Institute or the American Enterprise Institute, or other right-wing orgs which dominate the Google search engine. Both Cato and AEI are in the forefront of pushing any rhetoric that supports the libertarian ideology of getting the rich richer at everyone else’s expense. Since these “thinktanks” feed most national news stories and provide fodder for pundits, we don’t feel we have an obligation to repeat what Americans have drummed incessantly into their ears by corporate media already.]
As a direct result of upward income distribution, big businesses have grown since the Reagan years far faster and higher than real growth in the larger economy. They have used that wealth to hire slick lawyers and lobbyists to wager with, bargain with, manipulate and cajole our legislators on the state and national level to push bills that favor their profit margins while screwing the American public.
This needs to stop. The only way we can stop this is to take action to stop it.
Please read the Citizen’s Alliance summary below. As it says there will be hearings today on the house bill. If you can’t make the hearing, please call or write (email) the members of the committee to tell them to stop large corporations from shifting their tax burden onto the shoulders of New Hampshire residents.
This bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Reducing the rate of the business profits tax (BPT) as proposed in HB 386 would principally benefit the very largest corporations operating in New Hampshire. According to data from the Department of Revenue Administration for 2012, just 397 businesses – or 0.7 percent of all businesses filing a tax return – accounted for two-thirds of all BPT collected that year. All of those businesses owed more than $100,000 in BPT that year.
Cutting the BPT rate to 7.0 percent would mean that most of the revenue loss would flow to these very large businesses, most of whom likely have operations across the country and the globe. Smaller businesses would see little to no change in the amount of taxes they owe. In fact, more than 48,000 businesses – or 75 percent of businesses filing a tax return – already owed no BPT in 2012.
Cutting business taxes will force other taxpayers to pay for the public services that big businesses use and rely on to succeed. Cutting state business taxes creates a vicious cycle. Lower state revenues mean fewer funds are available to provide aid to cities and towns. That, in turn, puts more pressure on local property taxes.
There will be a hearing in front of the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday 2/17/15 10:30 in Room 202 of the Legislative Office Building.
Cutting business taxes will force other taxpayers to pay for the public services that businesses use and rely on to succeed.
Business taxes are already quite low in New Hampshire.
…differences in tax burdens across states are so modest that they are unlikely to outweigh the differences across states in the other costs of conducting business. These other “costs of conducting business” are the most important factors affecting business investment decisions and include the cost and quality of labor, the proximity to markets for output (particularly for service industries), the access to raw materials and supplies that firms need, the access to quality transportation networks and infrastructure (e.g., roads, highways, airports, railroad systems, and sewer systems), quality-of-life factors (e.g., good schools, quality institutes of higher education, health services, recreational facilities, low crime, affordable housing, and good weather), and utility costs.
A hearing at the will be happening on Friday, February 13, in Room 210 at the LOB (Legislative Office Building – behind the State House).
Show up and support HCR-2, [House Concurrent Resolution 2] the move to get Citizen’s United overturned. You can sign up to testify as to why you think, as a citizen, this resolution and considering an amendment is important. You also can stand by and stare down a politician. Your presence speaks volumes!
Also: A constitutional amendment is the ONLY way to overturn the Citizen’s United decision!
HCR-2 asks the New Hampshire state legislature to bring forth a resolution to Congress to have convention as explained in Article V of the US Constitution to consider adopting an amendment differentiates personhood from corporate existence. Article V in the constitution reads as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Therefore, the move is on to get New Hampshire on the list of states to comprise the two-thirds necessary for a convention. The convention would convene for no other purpose than to consider the adopting of an amendment to clarify that corporations cannot claim “personhood”.
The body of HCR-2 reads as follows:
This bill applies to Congress for a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen
A RESOLUTION applying to Congress to hold a convention for amendments.
Whereas, the government of the United States is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; and
Whereas, George Washington, the first President of the United States, stated in his 1796 farewell address that, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government”; and
Whereas, it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress of the United States of America should be “dependent on the people alone.” (James Madison, Federalist 52); and
Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” which has consistently been interpreted to allow the several states to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and
Whereas, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), removed restrictions on amounts of independent political spending and established a de-facto imposition on the several states denying them the ability to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and
Whereas, the current state of federal elections has become such that tremendous power is given to monied legal entities, which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and
Whereas, natural persons are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while incorporated legal entities exist only under the revocable authority established by the people through Congress and the several state legislatures; and
Whereas, the Congress of the United States has thus far failed to address the multitude of problems created by the United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and
Whereas, it is in the self-interest of the Congress of the United States not to address the issues raised by the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010); and
Whereas, Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:
That the legislature of the state of New Hampshire hereby applies to the United States Congress to hold a convention, as stipulated by Article V of the United States Constitution, for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), and related cases, including events occurring long before or afterward or for a substantially similar purpose, and desires that said convention should be so limited, and
That delegates to such a convention from New Hampshire shall propose no amendments which do not have a primary goal of addressing the grievances listed herein, and the delegates to said convention from New Hampshire shall be comprised equally from individuals currently elected to state and local office, or be selected by election in each Congressional district for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibited from serving as delegates to the Convention, and the legislature intends to retain the ability to define the power of its delegates within the limits expressed above; and
That the state of New Hampshire intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a convention currently pending in several other states, and all other passed, pending, and future applications, until such time as two-thirds of the several states have applied for a convention and said convention is convened by Congress; and
That the clerk of the New Hampshire house of representatives transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, each member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation, and the presiding officers of each legislative body of each of the several states, requesting the cooperation of the several states in issuing an application compelling Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution.
Sponsors of the bill are:
Also, for more information on the original Citizen’s United decision and its effects, please refer to the following articles:
Citizens United vs. FEC – Open Secrets.org – a lot of good links and basic information, updated with new analysis on what the decision has done to the political process.
Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision An excellent detailed analysis of the decision and its meaning and effects from the League of Women Voters of Minnesota with many good links.
Money Unlimited In-depth article in the New Yorker from 2012 on Justice John Robert’s work to get Citizen’s United the victory it sought.
State’s legislatures and local governments that have passed a resolution and sent it to Congress are listed on United for the People,org’s List of Local and State Resolutions
While New Hampshire citizens managed to shoo carpet-bagger Scott Brown out of the state and return Democrat Jeanne Shaheen to the Senate and Annie Kuster back to the House on the national level, Democrats have had some losses, mostly in the state house as extremist libertarians along with some extremist Tea Partiers gained control. Some of the traditionally more reasonable Republicans did ride on the GOP slide such as Gene Chandler who Bill O’Brien replaced as house speaker in the 2010 Tea Party sweep.
But we’re not here to focus on moderates, we’d rather keep you updated on the people to watch closely this upcoming session, in particular those with extremist, anarcho-capitalists views and ambitions. We’re speaking of course of the self described Free Staters (read more indepth about them here) that have professed to come and destroy state government, break New Hampshire from the union and create their own libertarian paradise, whether the rest of the New Hampshire citizens want it or not.
Its important to note that New Hampshire has the largest legislative body in the country with 424 members. State house members, of which there are 400 must fight for their seat every two years, the state senators makeup the remaining 24. The term pay is a total $100 dollars a year, plus transportation expense. As a result the party leadership on either side prefers to spend their time and energy on the more lucrative senate seats leaving most state reps to fend for themselves. This creates a window of opportunity for all kinds of regular folks to run as long as they’ve got the time and money to spend running a campaign and running back and forth to the state house during session time. Those last qualifications tend to weed out the herd so to speak, leaving most often only the self employed, those who have a source of sustenance beyond trading their time and hard labor for cash and the retired. There’s an old saying about who runs in New Hampshire, “The three r’s: the rich, the retired and the —” since the last is not so polite we’ll leave that for you to figure out.
Therefore, it was only a matter of time that the adherents to the mission of “Free Stater” takeover would figure out that possibly dismantling from inside might be pretty easy. At least the first part; getting elected. Traditionally, because the districts which break down into wards in larger areas are so numerous, most regular people just don’t pay a whole lot of attention to who is on the ticket. With two or three or even as many as seven seats available for their region, voters will often vote the party ticket they like and be done with it. This has resulted traditionally in all sorts of odd characters getting elected often to the later humiliation of the party they are supposed to represent.
But in the case of the Free Staters; they aren’t people on a personal political mission or tangent or people running to protect a pet area of government regulation or grind a particular ax; the Free Staters are on a greater mission and are organized and committed. As a result we’ve seen a gradual trickle of Free Stater followers and believers run in campaigns, usually as Republicans. Democratic wards, particularly those in the larger cities such as Manchester and Nashua, tend to have a diverse population of people who traditionally vote Democratic, whether because of old union sympathies or ethnic differences. They will tend to vote the ticket even if they haven’t had the chance to pay attention as much. Why not? Makes sense, if you are pro-labor you know Republicans aren’t. If you want a candidate who will vote for programs that help poor or elderly people, you’d vote Democratic, Republicans don’t profess to care about poor people or the elderly.
So Free Staters have figured out the shotgun approach is best. If all you want to do is get in, no matter how then why not run as a Democrat, especially in wards that typically vote Democratic but may be more socially disenfranchised and may not personally know or even have heard of their house rep or senator. So running as a Democrat has been the Free Stater practice now for at least the last two sessions. As shown here, its a strategy that they refuse to give up on even though this second try shows only one success with that strategy.
So without further ado, here’s the list, with the party they ran under also noted and the history (thanks to Granite State Progress for their work on this) of those who have served in the house before linked to their names. We considered putting pictures to the names, but we’re not here to promote these people or their version of libertarianism.
Glen Aldrich (R) – Belknap District 2
Mike Sylvia (R) – Belknap District 6
Ed Comeau (R) – Carroll District 5
Robert Hull (R) – Grafton District 9
Keith Murphy (R) – Hillsborough District 7
Elizabeth Edwards (D) – Hillsborough District 11
Amanda Boutin (D) – Hillsborough District 11
Keith Ammon (R) – Hillsborough District 40
Brian Seaworth (R) – Merrimack District 20
Dan McGuire (R) – Merrimack District 21
Carol McGuire (R) – Merrimack District 29
Jason Osborne (R) – Rockingham District 4
Shem Kellogg (R) – Rockingham District 14
Adam Schroadter (R) – Rockingham District 17
Max Abramson (R) – Rockingham District 20
Laura Jones (R) – Stafford District 24
Like many young libertarians, Edwards has said to some she found a home within the FSP for her sexual orientation freedom. Really? The Democrats have no history of working for and defending LGBT rights? More than likely its that extremist libertarianism might be more appealing to someone who spent some time as an intern at the Koch Brothers’ founded Cato Institute. A part of the obstructive factor of the efforts at forming an Occupy in New Hampshire, Edwards once seemed near an emotional breakdown during an informational presentation about the Koch Brothers corporate web of power, protesting that it was “one-sided” and unfair. What’s interesting to note, besides the one Free Stater, Elizabeth Edwards, the rest that won ran were Republicans, so hopefully people did actually pay attention to some extent.
We did find Elizabeth Edwards at the polling place doing her obligatory visibility; only trouble was, she was standing with the Republicans rather than with the Democrats. When asked why she hesitated and then replied, “Well we can be everywhere.” which is true, the candidates and their supporters can stand anywhere. But Elizabeth obviously felt more comfortable standing with the Republicans and Tea Party extremists and two of the Free Staters (that lost their bid, Eileen Landies and Tim O’Flaherty). Too bad for Eileen and Tim since they did have a chance to show their colors last session. Guess that was enough for the voters in Manchester.
O’Flaherty immigrated to New Hampshire as a converted Free Stater with the sole intention of running as a Democrat to get into the heart of the political process and begin the mandatory deconstruction. He was quoted during his time in office as saying he “hated serving” because he hated government. He hated it so much he decided to ask for another term. It was also observed that although he ran as a Democrat he regularly caucused with Republicans. For a group of anarchists its really quite something that they consider it worth stretching their anarchist tent enough to allow some establishment Republicans in who seem to have no problem finding ways to increase government. Apparently government isn’t such a problem after all when its used to disenfranchise voters, keep women from exercising their rights to reproductive healthcare and to allow corporations a free ride on the public’s dollar.
Unfortunately the Republicans they caucused with last term didn’t seem to be in on their plan to dismantle government and despite their best efforts, last we knew, its still in place ready for a new term of serious civic government peppered with shenanigans of the likes of these folks. We’ll be watching and reporting. Stay tuned.
Demonstrating once again that our American public education system is sadly underfunded, Free State Project adherent and generally creepy, obviously not employed wannabe journalist David Ridley harasses a volunteer New Hampshire state rep. Now, firstly, as someone points out in the comments on the you-tube site, the Department of Ed is a federal program, not a state one and thus it would seem the place to gripe and argue about public education would be on the federal level.
But we know that the Koch Brother’s Ground Crew isn’t interested in attacking the federal government, what with having to fight for space with professional lobbyists and all. The best place they’ve determined to put up the anti-regulation/return us back to feudalism cause is at the states. We’ve all seen this in action with the ALEC agenda started with Ronald Reagan in the 80’s. Because well, you know, corporations are just killing themselves for a chance to educate our children, clean our air and water and generally keep us all healthy, happy and able to pursuit life, liberty and all that, amirite?
Of course you knew I was joking. Those of you who paid attention in your public school and listened to your union paid certified teacher I’m sure understand the irony of people who can read and write thanks to the public education system saying as adults that they don’t want to pay a share of cost for others.
Ridley asked, “Are you going to force me to pay for that?” To which the rational viewer must ask, “How much does ignorance cost?”
Onto Susan the Bruce wherein the vile video sits.
by No, I’m Not a Guy You Idiot
In voting that wasn’t a surprise to most people involved closely in the issue of encroaching wind power and transmission line projects, the NH House Science, Energy and Technology Committee voted to retain most of the bills related to those projects.
Garnering the most controversy and attention lately was House Bill 580 that would have stopped all power infrastructure construction in the state immediately upon passage. Representative Rappaport requested an “ought to pass” on the bill with vocal support from Representative Khan, Representative Bradley and Representative Vadney. While Representative Babar spoke of reservations about the wording of the bill, but the most vocal resistance to the moratorium idea came from Representative Nicholas Levasseur. Levasseur seemed to speak a straight industry line, saying that the moratorium will “send a bad message” to businesses that New Hampshire is “fickle” in their support of business decisions.
Representatives Bradley, Khan and Vadney spoke in favor of the bill. While some said that they felt that retaining the bill for study over the summer will give the legislators time to consider the issue of wind power more carefully, many reps disagreed. Rep. Vadney said that prime New Hampshire areas, such as the Newfound Lake region are currently threatened with pending turbine construction that without a moratorium, could in fact come online very soon. He said that he has his doubts that without the moratorium there would be any way to stop such activity, “I worry it will be too late before we come up with an energy policy if we retain, important sites are under threat now.”
Rep. Bradley also weighed in on the issue, speaking from his military background saying that one thing he learned was the value of deadlines and also the value of delay, that when in doubt oftentimes a delay is the best option to avoid mistakes.
Representative Nicholas Levasseur made the final weigh-in, responding that the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) mandate may not be met, that business will lose interest in investing in the state and that the SEC process will assure that delicate regions will not suffer damage or destruction.
All bills relating to the electrical power infrastructure in the state were referred to retention which means that the bills will remain within the committee for study. There was discussion of setting up a sub-committee to take on the task of doing more research on the issues that the bills bring up and formulating more substantial bills or one bill to handle these contentious issues.
The following is a summary of the bills and some of the discussion that went before related to electrical infrastructure development, specifically wind power and transmission lines. The respective votes up or down are listed as well. Each bill is linked for further information:
HB 166 – “An act requiring the public utilities commission to make specific findings as to the public need for proposed transmission lines.” Motion to retain – passed unanimous
HB 449 – “…requires the site evaluation committee to consider economic impact and findings and recommendations from local planning boards or governing bodies prior to issuing a certificate for an energy facility.” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley voting no
HB 484 – “requiring public approval prior to issuance of certain site evaluation certificates…” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley and Rep. Calli-Pitts voting no
HB 568 – “requiring new elective transmission lines in New Hampshire to be buried.“ Rep. Rappaport moved for “ought to pass”, Reps Khan, Murotake and Bradley voted yes. Rep. Nicholas Levasseur, Rep. Vadney and Rep. Pasteur urged a no-pass saying the issue needed more study. Motion for passage defeated.
Rep. Townsend made motion to retain the bill – passed with no votes from Rep Khan and Bradley
HB 569 – “requires that all electric transmission lines in the state of New Hampshire be placed within state transportation rights-of-way to the extent possible.” Motion to retain – passed, Reps Bradley, Khan, Murotake and Reilly voted against.
HB 580 – “establishes moratoriums on the construction of wind turbine plants and on electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.”
Motion to retain by Backus who said, “I believe that issues that underlie this bill merit consideration and retention.” Reilly, the author of the bill said he supports retention to avoid a possible loss on the whole floor. Vote was taken, motion to retain passed with the following voting against retention: Rep. Khan, Rep. Rappaport, Rep. Vadney, Rep. Bradley. Rep. Babar made the general statement, “citizen input is important” possibly in reference to wanting to hear more from his constituents on the issue. Rep. Richard Levasseur wanted to know if the reference to power lines in the moratorium included Northern Pass or if it just referred to power lines related to the wind turbines.
HB 586 – “establishes a one-year moratorium on new and pending applications for certificates for electric transmission facilities.” Motion to retain – Rep. Khan, Bradley, Borden and Vadney voted against, motion passed.
At this point the committee will be in session tomorrow to discuss options such as setting up a sub-committee to work the bills. This is the time to call your representative in your area, to discuss the importance of preserving the western highlands of New Hampshire and the White Mountain region. The link below will get you to your representative. Also important is to talk to members of the committee that are on the fence on this issue and let them know how that you cannot destroy the environment in order to save it.
This Tuesday, March 5 at 1pm the New Hampshire House Science, Technology and Energy Committee will vote on two important bills effecting New Hampshire environmental and energy future: HB 580and HB 484.
Both of these bills relate to the expansion of wind turbines in the western and northern regions of the state. Both of these bills currently rest in committee. A large portion of representatives considered “retaining” the bills which essentially means they sit without action for an indefinite period — while energy industries continue unabated with their development within currently outdated and insufficient guidelines and rules.
We urge people to call the committee members and their house representatives to tell them to pass these two bills and get them out of committee and onto the house floor for a full vote. Click on the link below for a full listing of committee members with links to their email address and telephone numbers. Most NH Reps are very responsive to citizen inquiries and will answer phones and emails promptly and always will read them.
Senators in support of or acting sponsors of the HB 580:
– Sen. Jeannie Forrester – sponsor
– Sen. Jeff Woodburn – supporter
HOUSE BILL 580 proposes a moratorium on any further construction of wind turbines or transmission lines. Linked above, the bill text is short and to the point.
A moratorium on any further construction or approval of transmission lines (as originally intended by the bill’s authors) and wind turbine development will allow communities and all stakeholders a chance to develop stricter and more appropriate guidelines for renewable energy development. Industry has threatened that the renewable energy time table will be lost causing the RSP to spin out, they have threatened that they will leave the area, never to come back again if they don’t get what they want now. They also threaten that federal tax credits will soon expire, presumably never to be resurrected again. None of these claims have any basis in reality.
Ironically committee members expressed their desire for more information on the issue, many of them stating that they just didn’t have all the facts. Without the moratorium, the SEC will continue its approval process unabated and the people will not have the information and the facts so desperately needed on this issue.
The wind turbine industry has threatened that waiting will cause them to look elsewhere; that a wait signals ‘bad to do business in New Hampshire’. Seems rather disingenuous when at the same time industry lobbyists say that they have the communities’ concerns at heart, that they are confident of the quality and sustainability of their product and that they will work with communities.
HOUSE BILL 484 sets parameters for the SEC to consider aesthetic issues relating to the placement of structures, particularly their visibility “without amplification by the human eye”. Most importantly HB 484 will add to the existing SEC rules of RSA 162-H the following regarding public input:
“6 New Section; Public Approval. Amend RSA 162-H by inserting after section 10 the following new section:
162-H:10-a Public Approval.
I. The site evaluation committee shall determine whether any part of any structure of any proposed project is visible without amplification to the human eye from public property in a particular city or town. Its determination shall be based on information provided in the application and any change in or amendment thereto, any petition filed under RSA 162-H:7, VII, at any public hearing, and in any other balanced way deemed appropriate by the committee.
II. For each city and town in which the committee finds in the affirmative and for which a petition under RSA 162-H:10, VII was submitted, a vote shall be taken in such city or town at the next regular meeting of its legislative body. The question before the voters shall be as follows: “Are you in favor of the state approving the energy facility project proposed by ________________ for the city/town of _____________, specifically a [insert “power plant,” “windmill farm,” etc.] off _______________ road?”
III. The town or city clerk shall certify to the site evaluation committee the result of the vote in his or her community, and the committee shall total the votes for all participating communities taken together.
IV. No proposed project shall be granted a certificate where the total of the negative votes of all participating cities and towns taken together exceeds the total of the positive votes; provided, however, that such a certificate may be granted if subject to the condition that no part of any structure of the proposed facility is visible without amplification to the human eye at any time or season from any public property.”
LET THE SEC DO ITS WORK:
When this writer talked to some members of the committee, the trust in the SEC and its process was remarkable. But assumptions can be dangerous. Currently the rules that govern the SEC (Site Evaluation Committee) fall under RSA 162-F and RSA 162-H and deal mostly with traditional power generation plants such as gas, coal and nuclear. Unfortunately although the wind industry has developed on some small scale within New Hampshire there exists no firm guidelines for the SEC to follow regarding the development of wind energy in the state. In 2007 a group of industry experts and other stakeholders put together a proposal of guidelines for wind, but the SEC has failed to adopt the proposed guidelines.
An amendment was proposed by Bob Backus (d) and Susan Arnold of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) that would demand that the the committee recommend that these guidelines be updated and adopted by the SEC. But this amendment was proposed as a compromise to the resistance of some members of the committee to move on a moratorium. While the updating and adoption of the 2007 rules is needed, many see this as still allowing a loop hole through which current applicants can jump through. The amendment fails to mandate that all applications stop until further research and updating is complete.
At the working session last Tuesday an industry rep for PSNH spoke of her familiarity with the working group that drew up the 2007 guidelines, noting “I was around then.” She noted that the process took at least a year. Can we or should we depend on the industry to be willing to wait a year or more for the new guidelines to come online? Can we have faith that they will not pressure the SEC to continue their current permitting process and allow development unabated?
One has to wonder if the SEC is willing or ready to deal with the complex issues of wind energy if they have not bothered to adopt or even request an update of the proposed guidelines of 2007. Most markedly, if one bothers to scan the guidelines, it is clear that the working group admits that they have only a small amount of data to go on and that further study on the issue of wind energy generation is urgently needed and that was in 2007!
THE SEC PROCESS:
Many of the representatives in the committee pointed to the “Antrim Decision” as proof that the SEC does in fact do their job in hearing out a communities concerns and will rule accordingly. Unfortunately, as was pointed out in testimony at the February 19th hearing in Representative’s Hall by an Antrim resident and activist, it took four long hard years for the community to come together — all volunteer — to combat the paid wind industry lobbyists. It is worth noting as well that Antrim was the only town that was able to stop a wind project from gaining SEC approval even though numerous projects have gone online over the years, not all with shining success. Groton Wind Farm, LLC (Iberdrola satellite) already has caused problems that are currently pending before the SEC. Although the issues, placement of buildings and poor road maintenance are disturbing in and of themselves, most troubling is Iberdrola (in this instance Groton Wind Farm, LLC) seems to demonstrate poor management if not outright dishonesty in its practices.
The rules governing the SEC process, 100-300 spell out in detail the process by which hearings are held. It is clear from reading the guidelines that general court procedure is followed with rules of discovery, cross examination and petition by the public or “interveners” that may be cumbersome and difficult to navigate for those not legally trained. HB 484 gives more direct empowerment to communities at least on the issue of site placement a more direct and democratic process.
TRULY GREEN OR JUST ‘GREEN WASHING’?
You know, the “green” packaging at stores, touting that a product has a better carbon footprint of some competitor, that a product’s production used less energy or that a small portion of the product’s content is made up of recycled material? Ever cynically wonder if all that is really true or just a lot of fluff? Ever stop to consider that possibly there’s a certain irony to a company making a profit off of increased consumption while calling itself ‘green’?
In our haste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions we must examine all options carefully and intelligently. Enough data exists from wind turbine energy production around the globe to draw serious questions that must be answered. The core cause of our current environmental crisis has more to do with past ignorance of the grave costs of energy generation to our environment and health. It seems that now in the 21st century we should have the wisdom to know that the first order of business is to all options consider carefully. While wind energy may not, in the simple view produce CO2, many portions of its construction do:
– wind turbine sites require extensive deforestation for access roads and maintenance buildingsas one person notes on windeffects.org, deforestation removes vital natural environmental scrubbers for CO2 gas.
– the irregularity of energy generation by wind requires backup from traditional fossil fuel resources in order to balance out its lackluster and irregular contribution to the power grid.
– wind power can only provide an efficiency of around 10-17%, figures of 30% efficiency touted by the industry constitute only the highest efficiency in the best conditions, such is never consistently provided by wind. In fact the only locations in New Hampshire where turbines might have a “good” to “moderate” rating are on the tops of currently valued and protected mountaintop ridgelines.
– wind turbines as proposed for New Hampshire and elsewhere are expected to tower at 454′, requiring footings as large as 20′ square, some estimates are as high as 60′ x 20′ deep. The excavation required for any footing is always far larger than the footing itself, so consider this estimate conservative for the destruction of landscape. This is particularly important when considering the ‘bony’, that is rocky terrain of New Hampshire.
– currently EPD Energy has plans to move forward on a project that will directly impact the Mount Cardigan State Park and the surrounding towns. Mount Cardigan is a popular tourist destination and part of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s system of with a lodge that hosts nearly 8,000 overnight guests a year and maintains a network of trails throughout the western region. It is estimated that the Mount Cardigan trails serve over 15,000 hikers a year in all seasons. EPD energy’s proposed wind installations will sit directly on current trails impacting this vital gem of New Hampshire’s western region.
– the owner of the Rumney Village Store recently told this writer that his business jumps up 600% in the spring and summer months as tourists come to enjoy Newfound Lake, Rock Rumney and the surrounding mountains and hills in the area. They don’t come to walk wide deforested access roads to wind turbines. While a few turbines may not be intrusive, an industrial wind “farm” of nearly 500′ turbines planted close together along ridgelines with access roads to each carved out of the forest is quite another matter.
Finally, the elephant in the room when discussing energy use and generation is conservation. The acceptance of the paradigm of expanded consumption to drive economic expansion and profit must be challenged at its root. While the reduction of greenhouse gasses in the production of energy must continue, this cannot carry on in a vacuum. The time when energy was seen as cheap and easy has come and gone; manifest destiny has played out. We’ve drilled, blasted, dug, carved, scraped and soiled our planet to the point where we lay on the precipice of near destruction.
In addition, in the vein of continued consumption and individualized technology we’ve become more disparate and more disconnected from our communities and ourselves. Our national government has become enmeshed with global corporate power on a level never before seen. Disconnected from local communities and their needs, giant corporations intrude on communities to exploit the local citizenry and extract their resources, whether natural or human, for their own profit, returning little if any benefit back. Sustainability for the future must consider the long term health and growth of a community — for its own sake, not for the profit of a few large companies that will inevitably leave the unprofitable mess for the community to deal with.
For further information see links below:
In a gallant show of concern for over-run PC-style sympathies at the state capital, House Representative John Burt (R, Goffstown) states that flying the state house flag at half-mast in respect of the children lost in the Newtown CT tragedy is another example of the politically correct (otherwise known as sensitive, caring and considerate) folks have gone too far this time.
As Susan the Bruce points out quite clearly, Burt knows how and when to show sympathy and concern for children by voting against extending mental health care services for children and voting against the anti-bullying law as well.
Good show Burt! Burt explains that he’s concerned too and thinks its time to arm teachers with guns. Total genius we say, because killing kids has shown to be such a good solution in the past, why not turn schools into an all-out war zone? Teachers have got a bad rap in our society that’s for sure and as recent history tells us there’s no better solution for frustration than a warm gun.
In fact, as William Tucker of Miscellany Blue tells us Burt also recently announced that he believes laws are made for breakin’ and that’s just what he’ll do, as in carrying his weaponry where ever he pleases, whether forbid by law or not. Because well, nothing should ever get between Burt’s itchy trigger finger and a short shaft, not even public safety or common sense.
We encourage everyone to let Burt know what they think of a legislator empowered with making laws , disrespecting the laws already written. Here’s his contact information as posted on the NH state representative’s roster:
Representative John Burt,
7 Bay Street, Goffstown NH 03045-2634
Mr. Burt apparently has a website of his own, but you’ll have to look that up yourself, we aren’t into promoting stupid up here in these parts.