By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – A bill that would establish a distance from which a landfill can be sited near water was killed by the Senate on a voice vote Thursday.
House Bill 56, would ask the Department of Environmental Services to determine a safe distance but Republicans said they prefer Senate Bill 61, which has passed in the Senate and is being now considered in the House. It sets up a study and directs funding to hire an outside firm to figure that out.
But Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, said to assume the House will pass it and simultaneous kill this bill would be “reckless” and that the two bills if passed would complement each other.
Altschiller said in a time when the state is facing contamination from substances such as PFAS, HB 56 is an insurance policy between right now and when the product of SB 61 is completed and layers protection to the public.
Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, said we have made good progress on solid waste issues in the past but what the state has not done a good job is on site-specific landfills to protect water contamination.
The science is just not there to help DES determine those parameters, Watters said.
“HB 56 says let’s act pre-emptively now,” to ensure safety in the meantime.
“We’ve got to do something this year,” he said.
But instead, the Senate voted to kill the bill.
House Bill 49, which protects youths from being moved out of state while the state transitions away and lays out the parameters for the closing of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, passed the Senate on a voice vote.
Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry said the current center is not working for the children of New Hampshire and this protects those who are there.
Sen. Becky Whitley, D-Hopkinton also rose in support.
The children that end up at the Sununu Youth Services Center are the most vulnerable, Whitley said. “I believe HB 49 is the most compassionate way to help them.”
Carson said “this is an example of how government should work. We all pulled together.” And she thanked all including Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, and all the advocates for these children.
“We are on this path and we will need all of you,” Carson said.
OLD MAN DAY
The Senate passed House Bill 96 recognizing May 3 as Old Man of the Mountain Day.
Sen. Carrie Gendreau, R-Littleton said for generations the stone face in Franconia was an iconic symbol for the state.
It fell 20 years ago this coming May.
She said the bill enjoys bipartisan support.