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The Engaged Sierran
You are Invited to a Training Session for Tar Sands Presentation!
When: Monday, November 25
This presentation was developed by NH Audubon’s Carol Foss and a sub-group of the Tar Sands Coalition. We need people to learn the presentation, and then commit to giving the presentation to local community groups in your area. Please RSVP with Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members support Clean Air Act
On November 4, 2013, 47 Sierra Club members made up a group of approximately 110 participants who braved temperatures in the upper 30s to support clean power plants.
Proponents outnumbered the opposition at least 21:1 with a strong message of the EPA taking action on carbon pollution. The event was covered by PRI/NPR's Living on Earth radio program; read/listen to the coverage.
EPA is accepting comments on the carbon pollution standard for existing power plants through November 30. Submit yours now: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/forms/carbon-pollution-standards-contact-us or by email to email@example.com. Don't wait!
Speaking of Taking Action...
Thank you Members and Volunteers – You sent more than 300 emails to the Electric Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee (EUROC) supporting the retirement of coal in NH. One of the members of the committee was impressed by the volume! The EUROC will meet again on Dec 10, 2013 in the Legislative Office Building Room 304 at 10 a.m. Please RSVP with Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 224-8222.
Speak Up for safer and cleaner energy for New Hampshire!
The NH Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) is hosting eight meetings around the state to discuss the Site Evaluation Committee process and criteria. The Site Evaluation Committee is a state wide board that reviews applications for all future energy projects, like Northern Pass and wind farms. As you can imagine, there is a lot of anxiety around the approval or denial of some if not all of the projects. Remember Seabrook??
Currently, there is a lot of pressure to change the process and while that is not all bad –it is not all good either. NHSC feels that the current energy sources in the state, coal, oil and nuclear, threaten our health and future generations. NHSC supports responsibly retiring and replacing the old power plants over time by improving energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
We have seen in the State House the hysterical anti-wind activists shrill their way into the political sphere calling on a moratorium for all wind projects. This clearly unscientific rallying cry ignores the asthma attacks and emergency room visits triggered by coal pollution. They ignore climate change challenges and extreme weather events that now take place every year. Finally they ignore that the solution is right here. NHSC is not advocating for hundreds of wind farms. We are advocating a fair and reasonable process for all projects at the Site Evaluation Committee. Now is your chance to support smart solutions!
There are two types of meetings coming up:
1. Citizen's Workshops. There are five workshops that will go through a presentation and some sort of discussion then lastly a prioritization. They limit your participation to only one presentation. Registration is required: http://www.raabassociates.org/webcomponents/nhoep/welcome.htm
2. Listening Sessions. Are not the same as the Citizen’s Workshops and seem to be less defined at this time but you can find out more at the OEP website: http://www.nh.gov/oep/energy/programs/sb99.htm Learn more details and tell us if you plan to go by emailing email@example.com.
Members Make a Difference in NH and Beyond
GMO Labeling Not an Easy Sell in NH
A couple of years ago, Bonnie Wright of Salem, NH, decided to act on a recommendation to try switching to an all-organic diet in an effort to alleviate several long-standing and undiagnosed medical concerns. She was amazed to find significant relief in just a week, and continued to experiment with her diet until she was reasonably convinced that eliminating something had made a difference. As she became aware of genetically engineered foods, she became convinced that GMOs were that “something.” Medical testing is unavailable to prove this, but, as Bonnie says, “My body knows when I eat too many GMOs.”
She became aware of HB 660, NH’s bill to require the labeling of foods that are genetically engineered or contains genetically engineered ingredients, which was sponsored by Rep. Maureen Mann, with co-sponsors Rep. Massimilla; Rep. Perry; Rep. Suzanne Smith; and Rep. Raymond. With no grassroots support for the bill, Bonnie helped organize a team called “NH Right To Know GMO.” Bonnie and her team became the voice of GMO labeling in New Hampshire. Since this spring, Bonnie has put in more hours working on this issue than most people put into full-time careers.
Despite the dedicated efforts of Bonnie and this great team of volunteer activists, on November 7th, the Environment and Agriculture Committee voted 12-8 against recommending HB 660 as amended. The amended bill does not contain any language or negative implication that GMO products are unsafe; it is an effort to have ingredients accurately identified in foodstuffs, as NH residents have come to expect under Right to Know legislation, so that they can make an informed decision when purchasing.
Reasons given for non-support included that this requirement should happen at the Federal level, the committee members received "too many phone calls" about the issue, and that identifying these substances could create a negative impression or fear of products that have them. Another concern is the cost of enforcement, although it is significantly less than the recently passed Medical Marijuana Bill, which only affects a small number of NH Citizens. As Bonnie says, "Everyone has to eat!"
This is NOT a dead issue. The full House will still be voting on HB660 in early 2014. While the policy committee’s recommendation is a disappointing setback, Bonnie feels that this points out the need for more education of voters and Legislators alike. What may have seemed like a “no-brainer” has turned out to be a more difficult battle. She expects to expand the rather limited geographical group of current activists to reach more Legislators throughout the State. These volunteers will engage their local representatives with a clear and logical message, and they will return all feedback so that their message can be improved, where necessary. If you are interested in the future of GMO labeling, or would like to volunteer to help, visit the website http://NHRightToKnowGMO.org. NH Right to Know GMO is also on Facebook and Twitter!
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.
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