HB 519: RGGI Repeal Bill Hearing Thursday

With the Science, Technology and Energy Committee of the NH House of Representatives set to hold hearings on HB 519 on Thursday, it’s time to revisit the issue of climate change in the context of the Great Bay Estuary watershed. The bill in question is aimed at “repealing New Hampshire’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap and trade program for controlling carbon dioxide emissions.”

Rather than reinvent the wheel, the reader is advised to consult the following op-ed piece by researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Jackson Estuarine Laboratory for a nice summary of the environmental impacts of climate change on the Great Bay Estuary:

Scientists concerned for bay’s health – Seacoast Online, 8/25/2010

“More frequent weather extremes, including the recent record rainfalls and the general trend of warmer winters, are negatively impacting the estuary and its resources,” they note.

But more frequent extreme weather events don’t just pose a threat to the ecological health of the Great Bay Estuary. They also pose a real threat to local communities. According to one report, Southern New Hampshire experienced 100-year floods in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2006 alone, FEMA dolled out more than $7.3 million to help New Hampshire residents who suffered flood-related losses. Newmarket was particularly hard hit, as evidenced by photos posted on the website of the Lamprey River Watershed Association.

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan warns of more frequent and extreme weather events damaging property and threatening public safety. It is time to take the threat of climate change serious. We can’t afford to “wait and see” any longer.

Anyone can testify at Thursday’s hearing on HB 519. The hearing begins at 10 AM in Representatives Hall, located inside the State House in Concord.

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