To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in support of the Rights Based Ordinance (RBO) that the town of Plymouth is bringing forward in their special town meeting on January 31. A community group called Concerned Citizens of Plymouth has partnered with the Plymouth Board of Selectmen to put the ordinance on a warrant and hold a special town meeting. The aim of the ordinance is to stop the Northern Pass project from entering the town.
One might ask, “Why is this necessary? Why do these townspeople feel they must pursue this route of action?”. The simple answer is that because no matter what else we as citizens try to do- attend SEC and EIS hearings, write to our legislators, introduce bills at the state level, appeal to federal senators and legislators- the simple fact remains that corporations just have more power in our towns than we do. That is the truth. State and federal law can preempt any course of action that we take right now. As citizens, there is no recourse to oppose these giant corporate projects from forcing themselves into our towns- and the corporations know it.
So then, what are we to do? Plymouth and 11 other towns in New Hampshire have sought the help and guidance of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) through their New Hampshire organizer, Michelle Sanborn. CELDF and Ms. Sanborn clearly point out that we have three choices: 1) Do nothing, and get the project; 2) Oppose the project through the regulatory structure and get the project anyway; 3) Assert local governing rights and ban the project- do not compromise by voluntarily surrendering our local authority and force the powers that be to strip these rights from us publicly.
This is where the RBO comes in. It is our right to defend the health, safety, and welfare of our towns as citizens of the town. Please attend the information session on the RBO on Tuesday, January 23 at 6pm in the Board Room of the Plymouth Town Hall and get informed!