New Hampshire governor receives support from environmental groups over vetoed biomass bill
New Hampshire Public Radio reported that the Toxics Action Center (TAC) and the Energy Justice Network (EJN) have both come forward in their support of the Governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu’s decision in June of this year to veto a bill designed to subsidise and encourage the development of biomass and solar energy across the state.
The biomass bill, Senate Bill 365 (SB365), involved encouraging the utilities suppliers to source their power from one of New Hampshire’s wood pellets-based biomass plants at a discounted rate.
Gov. Sununu justified his reasoning for the vetoing in a statement, outlining that the bill, alongside another bill expanding the state’s net metering program, would cost New Hampshire ratepayers over $100 million (€86 million) in higher electricity bills, detrimentally affecting the elderly as well as those on fixed incomes and businesses.
TAC and EJN collaborated on a report centred around SB365, detailing the impact the biomass incinerators have on the state’s pollution rate, claiming that SB365 would subsidise and assist over half of the state’s top 13 air polluters.
According to the report, in 2014 the seven incinerators in question were directly responsible for 21% of the state’s industrial air pollution.
The report also outlined the high-cost inefficiency of the biomass incinerator industry, estimating that SB365 would cost Unitil, a New Hampshire-based electricity and gas utility company, customers an additional $75.60 (€65.30) on average per year.
According to local New Hampshire news outlet, the Union Leader, critics of Gov. Sununu’s decision allege that the dismissal of the bill will cost the state a significant amount of jobs and economic opportunities, as well as discourage the renewable energy sector.
Among these critics is the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, whose chairman, Ted Vansant, told the Union Leader, “This veto has a serious negative impact on our indigenous energy resources; local sources of energy that keep dollars, jobs, and economic activity in-state and have proven to lower grid-wide energy costs for all ratepayers.”
A vote on overturning the vetoes will take place on September 13.
This article was written by Joshua Heer, junior editor of Bioenergy Insight.