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Energy and Environmental Bills Could Bring Major Changes

Published Wednesday Apr 27, 2022

Author Kirsten Koch

Energy and Environmental Bills Could Bring Major Changes

Lawmakers could change how the state’s businesses and residents dispose of waste and what they pay for energy through
multiple bills.

Several bills could affect energy efficiency, net-metering, electric vehicles, the regulation of customer-generators of electricity and the new Department of Energy. Energy policies are a constant topic of debate in NH, and poor decisions could cause increased costs and reduced reliability.

Environmental-related bills include proposed changes to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations, landfill permitting and solid waste management.  

PFAS Bills
Several bills pertain to PFAS. Legislation proposes more strict limits for chemicals in drinking water, surface water, soil and air emissions. Other changes include adding more PFAS chemicals to the regulatory list, and requiring warning labels and future prohibitions on manufacturing products that include intentionally added PFAS chemicals.

The Business and Industry Association (BIA) supports science-based environmental policies but opposes efforts to make the state’s environmental regulations and statutes more burdensome than federal regulations, unless there is clear justification for doing so. BIA also opposes efforts to establish environmental regulatory standards by statute rather than by authorized regulatory bodies.

Clean Energy and Efficiency
BIA is keeping close watch on bills proposing to reduce rebates offered by energy efficiency programs. This is especially true after the state Public Utilities Commission rejected the 2021-2023 Triennial Energy Efficiency Plan in November 2021, cutting funds to NHSaves, a low-cost energy efficiency and rebate program. BIA called on the PUC to reverse that decision because NH businesses need certainty and consistency with energy efficiency funding and programs. Other bills would further legislate net metering, through which renewable energy generators receive credits for energy they provide to the grid. BIA supports net metering policy that doesn’t result in cost-shifting.

The push for clean energy and a reduced carbon footprint includes Gulf of Maine offshore wind power purchase agreements, switching the state’s vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, an electric school bus pilot program and more electric vehicle charging stations throughout NH. All should be proven to be reliable and lower long- and short-term energy costs to warrant passage.

Solid Waste
Several bills target solid waste management, including those that could produce more restrictions on the siting of new landfills. There are bills that address the application for solid waste permits, require the Department of Environmental Services to hire contractors to assist in the permitting process, and create insurance requirements to cover potential liabilities regarding areas near new landfills.

BIA understands NH’s landfill capacity is diminishing and that means costs are rising. Landfills are critical in the disposal of solid waste, and BIA will continue our work to assure an appropriate balance in their operation and siting.

Dept. of Energy
The newly formed Department of Energy is on legislators’ minds this session. Legislation proposes the Department of Energy take over several responsibilities now held by the Public Utilities Commission and oversee the work of various committees originally created to advise and oversee electricity matters.

The 2022 session could have significant effects on environmental and energy policy. BIA supports science-based environmental policies, legislation and administrative rules that balance economic development with the long-term sustainability of the state’s natural resources. We also advocate for energy policies that ensure system reliability and lower long- and short-term energy costs. That pragmatic balance is needed in such complex policy decisions.

Kirsten Koch is director of public policy for the Business & Industry Association of NH in Concord. For more information, visit

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