To The Daily Sun,
The people of New Hampshire realize that even with traditional New England Town Meeting governing style, and the largest representative body of any other state, that communities are being denied the right to decide what happens where they live.
Hydro-Quebec's Northern Pass project, if permitted, would produce 190 miles of HVDV transmission lines and towers from Canada to southern New Hampshire. A scar through some of New Hampshire's most pristine and un-fragmented wild places, to carry electricity to feed the demands of southern New England states. Almost every community along the Northern Pass route objects to the project as proposed. Who decides the fate of communities targeted by HQ NP — a presidential permit and the state agency known as the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).
Along the central-western ridgelines of New Hampshire, industrial wind developers have been bullying communities with a number of projects over the past four years. Global developers, like Energias de Portugal (EDP), are eager to profit from one of the region's most sought after resources — unspoiled ridgelines. Even communities not targeted to host industrial wind projects are in opposition to the destruction of New Hampshire's pristine ridgelines for the sake of "not clean, not green, not cheap" energy. Who decides the fate of communities targeted by industrial wind developers — the SEC.
The Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project has awakened the more populated southern part of New Hampshire to the reality of the systemic stripping away of any authority communities have over the decision making process. Communities across New Hampshire are beginning to understand what NIMBY truly stands for — Next It Might Be You! Who decides the fate of communities targeted by the KM NED pipeline? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Corporate water withdrawal and gravel mining corporations have targeted a number of Granite State communities as resource colonies. These resources are vital to the local survival and sustainability of surrounding ecosystems and those that depend on them. Who decides the fate of communities targeted for corporate water withdrawal? The state of New Hampshire, through the Department of Environmental Services, does.
From all across New Hampshire, communities have come together to form the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN). Participants of the NHCRN realize the common denominator shared by those targeted as "resource colonies for profit" — that sustainable environmental and economic development can be achieved only when the people affected by governing decisions are the ones who make such decisions. In order to protect the resources they hold dear, and protect their very own survival, communities must frontally challenge the current structure of law that legalize these harms.
Participants of the NHCRN are challenging our elected representatives to see the current structure of law for what it truly is — a "free pass" that allows for-profit corporations to rape and plunder the natural resources that Granite Staters depend upon for environmental and economic survival; a denial of freedom for the people of New Hampshire to protect their health, safety and welfare; and a blatant contradiction to the New Hampshire Constitution, Bill of Rights.
The NHCRN is not only challenging our elected representatives to see the current structure of law for what it truly is, but we call on the Legislature of the State of New Hampshire to place a constitutional amendment before the voters that acknowledges the rights of communities, and their governments, to enact local laws to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people, their community and natural environment. An amendment to our state Constitution that would allow communities to decide what happens where they live. In order to protect the health, safety and welfare of natural people and their environments, communities must have the authority to prohibit activities that would violate their rights.
The NHCRN is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that has partnered with Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to draft the N.H. Community Rights Amendment we are proposing for the 2016 legislative session. We must stop accepting the legalization of harmful activities and instead, we must assert our right of local community self-government to enact local laws that protect the health, safety and welfare of New Hampshire communities and environments.
New Hampshire Community Rights Network
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