Letter: Flawed anti-RGGI efforts

Sunday, November 12, 2017
Flawed anti-RGGI efforts

The New Hampshire House Committee on Science and Technology recently voted to reverse the progress made with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, program.

The bill was passed with an amendment that called for rebating the entire revenue (about $20 million) instead of saving some of it (about $4 million) to go toward energy efficiency programs for schools, businesses and municipalities. While the Republican argument of “returning ratepayer money rather than spending it,” as stated by Epping Rep. Michael Vose, swayed the majority of the committee, the counterpoints expose this flawed anti-RGGI effort.

The fact that the original bill– which called to withdraw New Hampshire from RGGI – was not passed means our state is still a participant; or as Rep. Bob Backus puts it, we are “paying the cost of RGGI without any of the benefits”

Secondly, the claim that ratepayer money is being spent and not returned is wildly extreme. Are your tax dollars “returned” when a pothole is fixed or a school book purchased? Energy efficiency helps everyone. These programs allow municipalities to save money on energy costs and invest that money elsewhere, resulting in budgetary flexibility and less strain on taxpayers.

These two arguments are not strong enough to end RGGI investments. Instead the House leadership need to understand both sides, like Lancaster Republican, committee member and the sole Republican vote rejecting the RGGI switch, Rep. Herbert Richardson. New Hampshire could see more progress with efficiency than with partisan rhetoric.