Dropping out of RGGI would be a mistake

Last modified: 1/26/2015 6:23:05 PM
One terrible proposal being presented up in Concord is a regressive and irresponsible bill designed to remove New Hampshire from the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. It would result in a substantial loss of income for the state and loss of greatly needed help for our residents, towns and businesses. We need to contact our state representatives, ask them to respect the needs and priorities of New Hampshire citizens and reject this bill. Ask them to save RGGI in New Hampshire and vote No on HB 280.

Here’s why:

1. Citizens from 32 towns in southwest New Hampshire and a total of 164 towns throughout the state have passed warrant articles requesting that both local and national efforts be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the exact purpose of the RGGI program and its effect.

2. RGGI saves money for New Hampshire residents, municipalities, and businesses. One example is from Temple, where taxpayers are saving money year after year, thanks to our 2009 RGGI-funded energy efficiency retrofit for our municipal building, Fire Department and library. It has reduced our heating fuel usage by 70 to 80 percent for our municipal building/Fire Department complex alone. All of New Hampshire’s RGGI funded programs are yielding savings for our citizens.

3. RGGI’s funding supports local jobs. Forty-eight New Hampshire workers were hired for the municipal retrofit in Temple, logging 4,725 hours of on-site work. And that doesn’t include all of the off-site workers — the New Hampshire product manufacturers, truck drivers, office workers, etc.

4. The meager 24 cents a month — PSNH’s average customers’ monthly charge for RGGI — is miniscule compared with the price we pay for the health issues in our state resulting from carbon pollution (for instance, approximately 4,000 adults and 3,000 children are newly diagnosed with asthma every year in New Hampshire) and the costs of climate disruptions due to the consequences of escalating emissions. Five “100 year floods” and one “50 year flood” all hit New Hampshire from 2005 to 2013. And the 2008 ice storm was so devastating that service was not restored for many residents and businesses in our region for two weeks during the heart of the winter holiday season. PSNH produced a manual illustrating how destructive and expensive the storm was, with over $150 million worth of property damage, 60 percent of that being PSNH’s costs, which we’ve all been paying for through our electric rates.

It is critical that we maintain and protect our participation in RGGI. Please join me in contacting your representatives to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and ask them to vote No on House Bill 280.

Beverly Edwards lives in Temple.

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