SEPTEMBER 6, CONCORD, N.H. -- Hundreds of timberland owners, loggers, foresters, sawmill operators, solar installers, hydro operators and engineers, farmers, and others wanting responsible, renewable energy policy in New Hampshire gathered today on the Plaza in front of the New Hampshire State House to demand that the state legislature overturn Gov. Sununu's misguided and misinformed vetoes of Senate bills 365 and 446.
The bills, which passed both houses of the legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, will both help support biomass and other renewable energy in the Granite State and thus the market for woodchips, which landowners and loggers depend on to practice sustainable managed forestry.
The legislature will meet next Thursday, Sept. 13, to consider the Sununu vetoes.
At the rally, speakers included State Senators Jeb Bradley, Bob Giuda, and Kevin Avard, who are all strong supporters of SB 365 and SB 446. Others who spoke to the crowd, which numbered around 400, included Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, N.H. House Democratic leader Steve Shurtleff, State Representative Erin Hennessey, Shelagh Connelly and Charley Hanson of RMI (which produces wood ash for agriculture, a byproduct of biomass energy), Medeleine Mineau of the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, Rebecca Crowe of Timberwolf Logging, Tree Farmer and longtime NHTOA member Tom Thomson, and NHTOA Executive Director Jasen Stock.
"This is about people, not about politics," Rep. Hennessey told the crowd. "The ripple effects of these vetoes impact everyone in the North Country." Other speakers emphasized that virtually every part of New Hampshire is negatively impacted by a loss of biomass energy and the market for low-grade woodchips.
"Why would we let 100 megawatts of energy go away?" asked Shelagh Connelly. "Then we'll just have to import it from somewhere else."
"I've got my speech written right here," said Tom Thomson, holding up a bumber sticker reading "Wood Is Good."
At the end of his presentation, Thomson held aloft hundreds of completed petitions demanding the veto override. More than 6,000 signatures have been gathered by petition -- one of the largest veto override petitions in New Hampshire history.
NHTOA members and all others who want responsible energy policy in New Hampshire have six days from today to call their State Senator and Representative and tell them to vote to override the vetoes of SB 365 and SB 446 on Sept. 13. Please make that call!