RELEASE: Democrats Decry Partisan Votes That Could Set New Hampshire Energy Policy Back 20 Years

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, Democratic members of the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee denounced partisan votes on legislation that would disrupt the energy economy and harm advances in clean and efficient energy:

Ranking Democrat Bob Backus (D-Manchester): “The high cost of energy is a major complaint of people in this state.  The best answer is to maximize energy efficiency and help people lower their usage and their electric bills.  These bills would do great harm to those efforts if they become law.”

Representative Jackie Cali-Pitts (D-Portsmouth): “In 22 years serving on this committee, I have never seen such disregard for scientific and economic fact.  The bills recommended by the committee today will set our state back 20 years.  At a time when we should be expanding clean energy, our actions are moving the state back and harming New Hampshire’s job market.”

Representative Suzanne Harvey (D-Nashua): “The legislature’s efforts 10 years ago on renewable energy provided our state with hundreds of jobs in a renewable energy economy.  Any effort to undermine those efforts hurts our state’s workforce, and creates an unstable environment that discourages investment in a rapidly growing sector.  Today’s actions will only discourage the young people that New Hampshire needs to attract from moving to and investing in our state.”

Representative Marjorie Shepardson (D-Marlborough): “This year in the legislature, there has been a pattern of undermining efforts to bring a clean energy future to NH.  Bills to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and underfund energy efficiency will impede our goal of achieving 25% renewable energy by the year 2025 and destabilize the growing energy economy.”

Representative Peter Somssich (D-Portsmouth): “Given my scientific background, I believed the committee I was joining would be less partisan and more focused on factual evidence. I was wrong.  This committee is judging things politically, not scientifically.  This approach has resulted in an underfunding of our most effective energy efficiency programs, including low-income energy efficiency audits.”

Legislation voted on by the Science, Technology and Energy Committee includes:

HB 114 – This bill would cut the goal to be achieved through new renewable sources from 15% by 2025, to the current 6%, which will keep New Hampshire as the laggard of New England in advancing clean renewable energy.  This bill was recommended Ought to Pass by a vote of 11-10.

HB 317 – This bill would deprive the PUC of the ability to adjust the Systems Benefit Charge, which funds energy efficiency and low income assistance. Transferring this arcane and technical work to the General Court, as this bill does, will threaten NH’s ability to achieve our established energy priority – capturing all cost effective energy efficiency. This bill was recommended Ought to Pass with Amendment by a vote of 11-10.

HB 559 – While exempting business customers, this bill would increase funding to permit reducing wait times for energy efficiency projects, including for low income customers.  Every study shows that increasing energy efficiency is the lowest cost way to reduce energy costs for our citizens.  This proactive bill was recommended Inexpedient to Legislate by a vote of 11-10.

HB 592 – This bill zeroes out the funding of energy efficiency through the funding available through the RGGI program, which will only increase the wait list for energy efficiency projects for our residential and low income citizens. This bill was recommended Ought to Pass with Amendment by a vote of 11-10.

The House of Representatives will vote on these bills when the 2018 session begins in January.