Valley News – Forum, November 28: Don’t Buy Sununu’s Energy Program
Published: 11/27/2021 10:00:39 PM
Modified: 11/27/2021 22:00:11
I hope Valley News readers connected the dots on the front page of the November 19 issue. If not, here are the headlines of three related articles: “Cuts in Funding for NH’s Hamstring Efficiency Efforts,” “Heating Fuel Assistance for NH Residents to Increase by 60% ”and“ White House offering more assistance for winter utility bills. ”
Let’s see how it works: Members of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s highly partisan Utilities Commission overturned previous decisions to fund projects that would have dramatically improved energy efficiency in New Hampshire. Instead, they will cut funding for these projects by 50% over the next year.
Meanwhile, Sununu and its Energy Ministry announced that public subsidies to eligible households for heating fuel will increase by 60%. Indeed, Sununu and his Department of Energy are transferring funds from clean energy projects so that consumers can afford to spend money on the fossil fuel industry. This scheme completely ignores the climate crisis we are facing.
But that’s not all. The 60% increase in aid does not really come from the state. The Biden administration distributes funds nationwide to help pay people’s winter heating bills. New Hampshire’s share of that federal funds will pay for the increased subsidy that Sununu’s Department of Energy is touting as its own plan. Clean energy projects will remain on the drawing board as they will be at a disadvantage compared to subsidized fossil fuels.
In short, Republicans in New Hampshire will accept federal money, siphon it into fossil fuel subsidies, and then label the Biden administration as a “spendthrift.” Sununu will look like the good guy for sending voters money that really comes from the federal government. And the fossil fuel companies, no longer threatened by these troublesome clean energy projects, will have enough profits to make generous five- or six-figure contributions to Sununu’s campaign. Again. And he’ll smile affably at the camera and tell us how successful his energy program is.
Please. Spare us.
REBECCA KVAM PACKAGE
Thank you for alerting readers to the City Council’s December 1 public hearing on the authorization of natural burial in Lebanon (“The Council digs in natural burials,” November 20). I am delighted that the proposal under consideration designates sites in two city cemeteries for natural burial. The Old Pine Tree Cemetery will appeal to those who not only love its history and woodland setting, but can also handle the steep terrain leading to the natural burial area. The second site, at the West Lebanon Cemetery, is now a flat meadow at the edge of the cemetery. It offers easy access to all and is bordered by a pretty wooded area.
The objective of natural burial (green) is to promote the decomposition of the body with minimal impact on the environment. In short, the bodies are not embalmed (preserved with formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals). Only biodegradable and non-toxic materials are placed in the soil. The use of a safe is prohibited. The maximum depth of the tomb is 3.5 to 4 feet to allow for natural and rapid decomposition. Herbicides and pesticides are not used in a natural landfill area.
Of course, the safety of municipal staff is paramount, whatever the task at hand. They are not expected to handle unembalmed bodies. It is the responsibility of the families or their representatives. The digging and closing of natural burials takes place in more than 300 regions of the United States and Canada. I am confident that our municipal staff can learn the skills necessary to do so safely here in Lebanon.
My plea for the choice of natural burial is based on serious concerns about the negative environmental consequences of cremation and conventional burial. I am grateful that the city of Lebanon is preparing to make a more favorable choice for me and my family.
We can be proud and grateful this Thanksgiving week. President Joe Biden and the Congressional Democratic delegation from New Hampshire and Vermont have made very real progress for American families:
■ Child poverty rate halved thanks to US bailout.
■ Almost 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, despite the lack of a distribution plan from the previous administration.
■ The unemployment rate is only 4.6% nationally, compared to 14.8% in April 2020.
■ The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the mainland coasts are safe from oil drilling.
■ We join our allies once again by joining the World Health Organization, the Paris climate agreement and other collaborative efforts.
■ The country’s longest war is over.
President Biden launched his Infrastructure and Jobs Act in New Hampshire. Here in the land of flooding and freezing, we applaud the money to repair and replace failing bridges and highways. And that’s just the beginning. This new law will also:
■ Ensure high-speed Internet access for every household.
■ Upgrade our electrical infrastructure to deliver clean and reliable energy using cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emission future.
■ Provide clean water to neighborhoods without safe water and eliminate toxic lead pipes.
■ Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the inception of Amtrak.
■ Fight pollution by cleaning up the Superfund and contaminated sites, reclaiming abandoned mines and plugging orphaned oil and gas wells.
■ Modernize ports and airports (including Lebanon) to strengthen supply chains and security.
So give a toast to President Biden and the ethical, determined and responsible Democrats in the House and Senate who made this progress possible. It’s great to have such a talented team doing good things for all of us.