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A small number of corporations control our energy-delivery chain

To The Daily Sun,

When you flip the switch to turn on the lights, what kind of energy is being used to produce that electricity? Depending on where you live and what energy sources are available, that electricity could be produced by a coal-burning plant or a fracked-gas power plant. Maybe industrial scale wind turbines, hydro-electric dams, or an industrial solar project. Most likely, a combination of more than one energy source is producing that electricity.

More and more we are seeing a handful of corporations decide for us what kind of energy is available to us, at what price, and with little regard for the local environmental, economic, or human health impacts. This is unsustainable. Unsustainable energy projects are justified by government and industry claims about "jobs" and "energy independence," or "green" and "renewable" being clean and cheap. Many of these claims are exaggerated or flat-out untrue.

Regardless of the energy source, when a small number of corporations control what, where, and how that energy is extracted, produced, and distributed, the effects can be devastating to real people and the natural environments they depend upon for survival. Industry decides energy prices, which communities will host their projects, and the method of extracting, producing, and transporting that energy — often against the express wishes of the community.

Federal and state energy policies restrict local energy freedom and sustainability. Communities are routinely refused the choice to create a sustainable energy future. Local governments are prohibited from exercising any authority to decide their own energy policies or to reject unsustainable policies set by others. Corporations and governments have become local energy decision-makers while denying the right of people and communities to make governing decisions about their energy sources and costs.

Sustainable energy is produced from truly renewable fuel sources; used to decrease energy produced from non-renewable energy sources; governed and controlled by democratic community decision-making over the development, production and use of that energy; and the production and use of which does not interfere with the rights of nature, communities and ecosystems. Sustainable energy development can be achieved only when the people affected by energy governing decisions are the ones who make them.

Communities have organized from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania, and from Colorado to Oregon, to draft Community Bills of Rights laws that prohibit unsustainable energy development. These Bills of Rights go a step beyond prohibitions, to establish the right of communities to a sustainable energy future and the rights of nature.

Local communities and the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) are partnering with Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to advance fundamental democratic, environmental, and social justice rights throughout the state.

Michelle Sanborn
CELDF N.H. Community Organizer
NHCRN Coordinator

Alexandria

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A great need for additional CASA volunteers in the Granite State

To The Daily Sun,

Advocating for people who are dealing with difficult circumstances has always been my passion. Growing up in the North Country, I was appreciative of teachers and pastors who helped me get through some very difficult years. For the past 32 years I have owned and operated a business out of my home, and I quickly realized I needed an outlet other than the business to satisfy my desire to serve people and to make a difference in their lives and to meet the need in my life.

I was trained and became a hospice volunteer for 12 years. When a member of my family and several friends became terminally ill, I left that program to use my skills to assist those people and their loved ones in the process of end of life.

It was after that experience that I had a desire to learn about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an organization that works to affect the lives of children who have been abused or neglected. I was trained and have volunteered with CASA NH for the past four years.

The training and work was challenging at first, as I had to learn the court language and procedures for appearing in court as I represent these needy children. Writing the court reports every three months takes me the longest amount of my volunteer time, but even at that I usually accumulate no more than 20 hours of time each month.

The best part of my experience with CASA is when I visit the children. The games we play, the talks we have, and the hugs I receive from these precious kids is indescribable! The effort and my time spent has been so rewarding, as I have witnessed and been invited to adoption proceedings. To hear one little 7-year-old boy say to his pre-adoptive mother, "Can Bonnie be at my adoption?" was priceless.

What about you? Do you have a desire to affect the child who has been abused, born addicted, neglected educationally, abandoned, or neglected in so many other ways? I can guarantee that you will be challenged, you will grow personally, you will be supported by a well-run organization, and the rewards you will receive will far outweigh the time you give to CASA NH.

There is currently a great need for more CASAs in this area. A training program is scheduled in Plymouth to begin in November. For additional information about the CASA organization go to www.cashnh.org. Please join me in advocating for the abused and neglected children in New Hampshire. It just might become your passion.

Bonnie Webb
Holderness

 

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