Bill Would Require Payout From Companies That Contaminate In N.H.

Jan 10, 2018

Credit John K via Flickr CC

A state lawmaker wants entities that cause pollution in New Hampshire to pay in to the state's general fund as part of the cleanup.

Representative James McConnell, a Republican from Swanzey, introduced his bill to the House Resources Committee Wednesday. He's proposing charging polluters an extra 50 percent on top of whatever they paid for remediation.

"To my way of thinking, we have to ensure that New Hampshire is no longer the low-hanging fruit for anybody who has a business which could come here and pollute the environment,” he said.

He cited Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics' relocation from Vermont to Merrimack around 15 years ago as the kind of thing he wants to avoid. Saint-Gobain is now partly on the hook for responding to toxic chemicals known as PFCs in the region's drinking water.

"My real concern is ensuring that a company where there's a strong likelihood where this would occur avoids New Hampshire altogether,” McConnell told lawmakers.

Or, he said, he hopes the surcharge would cause a company to buy extra insurance or take stronger pollution control steps.

He added he'd be willing to amend his bill to limit what an individual would pay for more minor pollution on their property, such as a septic spill.