Posted Jan 2, 2019 at 9:56 AM Updated Jan 2, 2019 at 9:56 AM
To the Editor:
State Rep. Ellen Read has reintroduced the NH Community Rights Amendment, a state constitutional amendment that expands and protects the rights of people and natural environments in their communities. The NH Community Rights Amendment was drafted by the NH Community Rights Network, with assistance from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit public interest law firm. Rep. Read said she is committed to sponsoring this legislation again because, “our quality of life, indeed our very lives and those of our children and future generations, depend on it.” Projects such as pipelines and compressor stations, transmission lines, ridgeline industrial wind ventures, and water extraction projects are authorized by state officials and state agencies, without townspeople’s consent. Efforts to protect people and ecosystems have been denied by state and federal governments in partnership with corporate special interests, leading to this legislation.
The NH Community Rights Amendment would add Article 40. Right of Local Community Self-Government to the New Hampshire Constitution’s Bill of Rights, and has three key components:
Right to Local Self-Government: specifically recognizing the right of people in communities across the state to local community self-government.
Rights of People, Communities, and Natural Environments: people, communities and natural environments have rights to health, safety and well-being, and the authority to prohibit business activities that violate those rights.
Expanding and Protecting Fundamental Rights: people can use their collective local lawmaking power to enact local laws that protect and expand fundamental rights – any efforts to restrict or weaken fundamental rights under this Amendment are prohibited.
The NH Community Rights Amendment has bipartisan support from representative co-sponsors: Vincent Migliore, Janice Schmidt, Skip Cleaver, Wendy Thomas, Nancy Murphy, William Pearson, Kathryn Stack, David Meuse, and Joshua Adjutant.
Jennifer Dube, NHCRN Legislative Coordinator