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Arnie Arnesen: There’s a big garbage problem within the biomass bill



For the Monitor
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed Senate Bill 365, the biomass energy/subsidy bill that would protect hundreds or perhaps thousands of jobs in the forest-products industry, in a state that is 80 percent forested (according to Paul Doscher, owner of a small woodlot and former longtime employee of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, in a Monitorcolumn on July 12).

I may be inclined to be sympathetic to the major push to override Gov. Sununu’s veto, but there is a provision in the bill that makes the emotional arguments less persuasive. Why you ask? Because tucked in the bill is an “interesting definition” (to be polite) of indigenous renewable fuel.

SB 365 defines garbage as an indigenous renewable fuel. Gag me with a spoon.

Why would they shove this outrageous expansive definition into this bill you ask? Because it would provide huge subsidies to Wheelabrator’s only waste incinerator located in New Hampshire. And why does “Deep Pockets” Wheelebrator think they should get this subsidy too? Because Wheelabrator’s 30-year PURPA agreement providing above-market rates for electric sales expires in 2019 and this would require N.H. ratepayers to prop them up.

Hmm, what part of the forest products industry is a waste incinerator? I have never cut down, dug up, built a house with or gotten shade from an incinerator.

Shame on the N.H. Legislature for wedding incineration to biomass, shame on the forest products industry that, with knowledge, is being used as a vehicle to continue to promote and preserve waste incineration (and all their jobs – not). What a shame that on Sept. 13 it is an up or down vote with no opportunity to carve out a garbage-burning facility that needs no subsidies from N.H. ratepayers.

(Arnie Arnesen lives in Concord and is the host of “The Attitude” on wnhnfm.org.)