The Engaged Sierran
On MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 10:00 - Noon, join NHSC and other concerned individuals at this event to be held at the Nashua City Hall.
Community leaders and
planners, business owners, and residents discuss infrastructure,
community and business needs as climate change becomes a greater
challenge in the coming years. Focus will be on prevention of further
climate destruction, adaptation of communities to new challenges, and
mitigation of further changes.
NH Sierra Club Chapter, National Wildlife Federation, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment NH
Moderator: David Brooks, Nashua Telegraph
Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau
Justin Kates, City of Nashua Emergency Planning
Jonathan Gregory, Sun Ray Solar
LOTS OF OTHER EVENTS HAPPENING IN THE UPCOMING WEEKS!
Keep on top of everything environmental by checking the NHSC Calendar pages, both September and October, at http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageNavigator/chp_nh_calendarevents
Click on the highlighted dates for full details, and keep an eye on Facebook!
FOLLOWING: HB660, LABELING OF GMO PRODUCTS
The prevalence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in common food is of concern to many people in New Hampshire and throughout the world for different reasons, among them general health, agricultural practices, allergy or religious considerations. Such products have been introduced into our everyday diets for many years and, almost without exception, without our knowledge.
Representative Maureen Mann (Rockingham 32, Northwood, Nottingham, Candia, and Deerfield) heard concerns from constituents that they felt that food and agricultural products containing GMOs should be labeled. Rep. Mann began researching this issue, and soon became passionate about the need to provide consumers with vital information regarding the source and content of ingredients in their diets.
HB660 (sponsored by Rep. Mann and co-sponsored by Reps. Perry, Raymond, Massimilla and Suzanne Smith) requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods and agricultural commodities. It was introduced in January of 2013 and retained in the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. The bill is currently in sub-committee and is expected to return to the full Committee in October with the sub-committee's recommendation. At the time of writing, an amendment is taking form that will support labeling. Because the future of this bill in committee is not guaranteed, Rep. Mann suggested that this would be an ideal time to contact members of the Environment and Agriculture Committee to voice support of the bill: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H06
Accurate food labeling allows consumers to make their own decisions regarding a given product. It is a simple standard. Concerned NHSC members can weigh in on this issue in October, once the bill is back in full committee. Download June 2013 testimony from Representative Mann and others. The Sierra Club policy clearly states that labeling of products with genetically modified or engineered components is necessary, http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/conservation/biotech.aspx.
Please contact Chapter Director Catherine Corkery at Catherine.email@example.com for further information.
Climate Solutions for New Hampshire
by Katharine Daley
You may have heard discussions this year about wind energy development in New Hampshire – in the news or in the Legislature. Bills have been introduced that would affect the development and/or regulation of wind energy in our state. Other bills affecting the state's renewable energy portfolio have been introduced and are now in committee for study. While wind will never provide 100% of New Hampshire's electricity, it can be a significant part of the state's renewable energy portfolio, lowering emissions from fossil fuels that cause health problems and contribute to climate change, whose potential costs we have only begun to appreciate. To the extent we develop wind, we also avoid increasing our dependence on sources like coal and nuclear energy.
NH Sierra Club wants to participate in the current discussion in order to improve the process for approving future energy generating facilities, including wind, in a manner that preserves public health and the environment.
NH Sierra Club believes that:
- The use of coal to generate electricity makes us sick and contributes to climate change
- Setting and achieving renewable energy portfolio goals will reduce harmful emissions
- Problems associated with locating wind generation facilities are solvable
- Wind is part of the solution to clean air and will be cheaper in the long run than suffering the environmental and health consequences of continuing with the status quo of fossil fuels
- A moratorium on development of wind energy in New Hampshire would be unnecessary and extreme
- The Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) could be improved to allow more public access and participation in SEC proceedings
- Criteria used by the SEC in the approval process should more specific, and expanded to deal with concerns about economic, aesthetic, and environmental values
- While SB99 is not perfect, the public committee process it contains is the best vehicle for recommending new criteria and procedures to be adopted by the SEC. It should not be amended in ways that shrink public access and depart from standard rule-making procedure
- SEC's enabling law, RSA 162-H should:
- Contain a definition of "adverse impact"
- Require applications from potential electric generators, including wind, to provide more detailed information environmental, aesthetic, and economic impacts
- Require more information on the applicant's proposals for studying and solving environmental impacts, and
- Provide more access to the public approval process by various means
- Wind energy is and should continue to be an important part of the state's portfolio because
- It is clean energy
- It provides jobs and revenue
- It can help keep electricity prices stable and low, increasing energy security
- Wind energy can be a reliably integrated source of energy – with some work
- Wind's environmental impacts can be responsibly and effectively addressed through proper siting criteria and further technological study and innovation
- Wind is preferable to other fuels with more severe environmental and health impacts
The Sierra Club's Wind Siting Advisory sets out a detailed roadmap for developing siting criteria. It can be found on the club's website: http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/conservation/wind_siting.aspx
One of the resulting bills, SB99, passed with three main points that will become opportunities for volunteers to express our concerns and apply climate solutions. Every step of the way, NHSC expects public opportunities to engage and contribute to creating fair, transparent, carbon reducing energy policy for our state.
First the law that outlines the process of the Site Evaluation Committee will be reviewed and changes will be suggested to the legislature next year.
Second, a "public stakeholder process" will take place until the end of December to review wind siting criteria.
Third, the bill instructs the Site Evaluation Committee to draft wind siting rules next year.
Another bill, SB191, creates a new committee to draft a state energy strategy. This committee's agenda will be active and will include public meetings and hearings. Again, many opportunities for us to suggest carbon reducing solutions for our state's energy outlook.
Hampshire Sierra Club's Tar Sands Team
Who we are and what we do
The New Hampshire Sierra Club Tar Sands Action Team is a small group with diverse but complementary backgrounds. The Action Team was created after the Chapter strategic planning meeting in Concord this spring. Because we are scattered across the state, we rely on monthly conference calls and emailing for sharing information.
As a new committee for the Chapter, our mission and function are still very basic. We recognize that many in New Hampshire are unfamiliar with tar sands and know that we ourselves have much to learn. Consequently, we have set education and outreach as a top priority and have partnered with National Wildlife Federation and 350.org to accomplish our goals.
Members of the Team include Nancy Byrd of Mirror Lake, Cathy Goldwater of Hollis, Kenyon Karl of Wentworth, Allen Davis of Dublin and Joel and Anne Huberman of Peterborough. The team members are acutely aware that pipelines and tar sands must be considered in the larger context of the environmental impact of releasing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and the tragic environmental risks by those directly impacted by the extraction, processing and transportation of tar sands.
On a more local scale, we have been familiarizing ourselves with pipelines and rail lines that cross the Northeast that could carry tar sands to the eastern ports on their way to world markets. We are learning how to get material to the press and decision makers. Currently we have prepared an opinion piece, to be submitted to a few local papers, about the Sierra Club's recent tar sands report. Please view this report at "Fail: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test."
We might be a new Action Team for the Club, but we want to be as effective as possible. We have a lot of work to do and hope you will join the Tar Sands Action Team. Our next meeting, by conference call, will be on October 5. Please email Team Member Cathy Goldwater at Cathy.firstname.lastname@example.org for details and call-in information. All interested members are welcome!
Join an Action Team!
NH Chapter Action Teams are active in seven different areas: Climate Change, Fundraising, Outings/Events, Tar Sands, Transportation, Renewable Energy and Volunteering.
Each team is tasked with holding meetings and taking steps towards self-specified goals – which means lots of opportunities to get involved! Call 224-8222 to become one of 10 members allotted for each team.
Stay Cool In Style - Use Sierra Club Merchandise
It's important to stay hydrated during these hot summer days, and what better way than with Sierra Club hats and water bottles? We now offer 100% Organic Cotton hats, BPA-free Camelbak water bottles, and stainless steel water bottles and tumblers – all complete with the Sierra Club logo! Call 224-8222 to get yours today!