To The Daily Sun,
Following is the text of testimony given by me during a hearing of House Bill 145, requiring municipal approval for siting high voltage transmission lines, before the N.H. House Municipal and County Government Committee:
I am here today as a resident of Alexandria and to speak on behalf of the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) in support of HB-145.
NHCRN was founded to educate and empower communities and elected officials about our individual and collective right to local self-governance in order to secure and protect the inherent and unalienable rights of all inhabitants of New Hampshire to economic, social and environmental justice, including the rights of nature. NHCRN believes that sustainable environmental and economic development can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make such decisions.
Corporations have been using pre-emptive processes, such as the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), to override local decision-making authority that is carried out in the democratic process of local town meetings. When the SEC, made up of industry representatives, is given pre-emptive power over the will of communities most affected, we must ask ourselves whose interest is really being heard. It certainly isn't that of the residents or ecosystems most affected.
Corporate lobbyists will likely oppose this measure as they must assure the ability of the corporations they represent, to have the easiest access to a decision that favors their plan to profit. There is nothing wrong with corporations making a profit and having a smooth process that oversees the permitting of projects. But the decision to move forward with such projects against the will of affected communities reveals corporate determination to exercise its claimed "right" to profit at the cost of communities attempting to protect their health, safety and welfare, economic sustainability, and natural environment.
Residents impacted by high voltage electrical transmission lines projects in the Granite State have overwhelmingly expressed opposition throughout the ongoing SEC hearing process. The expressed support for high voltage transmission lines by politicians, lobbyists and those that are in a position to profit from these projects, in the face of significant opposition from residents, does not constitute community support or community benefits.
The plan to use Granite State communities as resource colonies for profit without giving affected communities a final say in the matter is inconsistent with the rights enumerated for residents in our state Constitution or our long history of local self-governing through Town Meeting.
The state is charged with protecting the rights of residents, not corporations. Clearly, Article 8. (Accountability of Magistrates and Officers) makes your job here today very easy. All power residing originally in, and being derived from the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. I urge you to listen, not just hear the voice of the people — for your power is derived from us and you are at all times accountable to us.
New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) assists communities in elevating their right to protect themselves and the places they live, for the sake of the health, safety and welfare of residents, local economies, and environmental sustainability. NHCRN supports HB-145 because residents affected by high voltage transmission lines must have recognized authority to make the final governing decision as to whether or not such projects move forward.
NHCRN Coordinator, Board of Directors