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NH Business and Health Delegation Urges Congress to Support Clean Power Plan

A delegation of Granite Staters traveled to Washington last week to drum up support for the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Included was a visit with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who supports the plan. Courtesy: K. Roert
A delegation of Granite Staters traveled to Washington last week to drum up support for the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Included was a visit with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who supports the plan. Courtesy: K. Roert
September 14, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. - It's no secret Congress has a budget battle brewing, and Granite Staters including a local brewer just delivered a message to lawmakers, don't mess with the Clean Power Plan.

Peter Egelston, president of Smuttynose Brewery, was a member of the delegation that traveled to the nation's capital last week to tell lawmakers the EPA's carbon pollution limits need to be protected. He says climate changes plays a major role in the price and availability of two of the prime ingredients for beer, barley and hops.

"Businesses understand that in their own self-interest it's the right thing to do and that's a very powerful force in a market-based economy," says Egelston.

The next step is for the EPA to publish the Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Opponents argue the rule is too strict, but the delegation which included business, health and conservation advocates urged both New Hampshire senators to stick with the plan.

Katy Robert, board president with the New Hampshire Public Health Association, says the timing is important because supporters don't want to see the Clean Power Plan blocked or delayed while Congress considers key budget legislation to avoid a government shutdown.

"There's a couple of must-pass pieces of legislation coming up," says Robert. "We just hope that nothing will be attached to those bills that would affect implementation of the rule."

Egelston says while Senator Kelly Ayotte has been straddling the fence on this issue, she did support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as "RGGI."

"One of the questions she had about the Clean Power Plan was whether states that have been participating in RGGI benefit," says Egelston. "The answer to that is a definitive yes."

Robert says one in nine New Hampshire children already suffer from asthma, and they would be on the front line for negative health impacts if the plan is rolled back.

"Our children and our elders are going to be more susceptible to lung and asthma issues," says Robert. "Tick-borne diseases are going to continue to increase with the rising number of ticks in New Hampshire."

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH