OPINION: HB 1358 Favors Energy Project Developers Over Citizens’ Rights

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Matt Leahy

Matt Leahy, Public Policy Manager,
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

On March 7, the N.H. House of Representatives will vote on House Bill 1358, legislation which would require the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) to issue a certificate of site and facility for an energy facility if the SEC fails to act within 365 days of its acceptance of an application.

For more on this bill, click here.

The purpose of the SEC process is for an energy project developer to demonstrate how its project serves the public interest in a way that does not unreasonably and adversely affect the State’s environment.

The burden of proof is on the applicant, not the public. HB 1358 undermines this very basic principal. It is an affront to the due process that state law provides to all parties with an interest in the siting of large-scale energy projects.

While the bill gives the SEC the authority to extend the deadline for no more than an additional 120 days, that would only occur if no party objects.  Because it is hard to envision a scenario where an energy developer would willingly or easily agree to such an extension, this provision defies common sense.

If you share our concerns, please let your elected representative in the NH House of Representatives know you oppose HB 1358. Tell them you oppose any attempts to limit the ability of citizens and communities to engage in a process where the outcome could have significant impacts on the well-being of our state.

Find your NH state lawmaker by clicking here.

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