To the editor,
In 2006 Barnstead Selectman Jack O’Neil proclaimed support for a rights-based ordinance protecting Barnstead’s water resources stating, “…we pledge to walk point for you…”. It’s doubtful that at the time he imagined New Hampshire residents would today be walking point for the nation in the struggle for community rights and the rights of nature.
Since then towns across New Hampshire have been initiating and passing rights-based ordinances in the face of corporate assaults on local economies, rights, and natural environments. In 2015, a holocaust survivor living in Barnstead recognized the fomenting climate of religious intolerance during the presidential primary and initiated a rights-based ordinance guaranteeing freedom from religious identification. It passed unanimously at town meeting.
In a time when state and federal lawmakers fail to act on pressing social, environmental, and economic issues and corporate entities are rushing to enact legislation pre-empting communities from addressing these, it is more important than ever to seize the opportunity to affirm the rights of people to self-govern in their communities.
New Hampshire representative Ellen Read has reintroduced the Community Rights Amendment, CACR 8, an amendment which codifies the rights of people in New Hampshire to make governing decisions about policies and endeavors that impact the well-being of residents and the natural environment. Having garnered one third of the legislature’s support in the past session, New Hampshire is leading the nation in the fight against legalized destruction of our planet and the stripping away of our individual right to self-govern.
Those involved in the early work of local democracy are grateful for the efforts of many residents, but especially those of longtime Barnstead Selectman Gordon Preston, Katherine Preston, the late Jack O’Neil, and the late Gail Darrell, founder of NH Community Rights Network and tireless advocate for a sustainable, peaceful world. The many people who carry on this work across New Hampshire ask for your support of CACR 8, the NH Community Rights Amendment to the NH constitution.
Diane St. Germain
NHCRN Board Member
NOTE: Epping residents support local democracy - their right to decide how best to protect their community. Their Right to Decide Resolution supports the call for state constitutional change to secure their right to clean air, water, soil - a healthy climate. http://www.nhcommunityrights.org/state-constitutional-change.html
EPPING — More than 100 residents have signed a proposed resolution aimed at giving voters more of a voice on whether they want a proposed natural gas storage facility to be built in town.
A citizen-petitioned warrant article has been submitted to the town to be placed on the March ballot in response to Liberty Utilities’ “Granite Bridge” natural gas pipeline project.
The article proposes a non-binding resolution asking that a storage facility for liquefied natural gas not be allowed in town without approval by two-thirds of voters.
Resident Barbara Perry, who worked on the proposed resolution, said it would be a barometer to measure the feelings of residents when it comes to the Granite Bridge project.
“We wanted to be able to give this information as to the pulse of Epping, as to how people are feeling about the right to decide,” said Perry, who is also one of about 40 people who are part of a group called Citizens for Local Control, which formed in response to the pipeline and storage facility proposal.
The project calls for the construction of 27 miles of pipeline along Route 101 from Stratham to Manchester with a storage facility located in an abandoned quarry adjacent to the busy highway near Exit 6.
The facility would include a tank 170 feet high and 200 feet in diameter, which would hold up to 2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas.
In its liquid state, which occurs when natural gas is cooled to -260 degrees, Liberty Utilities officials said, liquefied natural gas isn’t flammable or explosive.
The project needs approval from several state and federal agencies.
According to Liberty Utilities’ construction timeline, the storage facility wouldn’t be finished until 2022.
Despite concerns from some opponents, Liberty Utilities officials have maintained that the storage facility will be safe.
They’ve described the tank system as a “free standing inner tank surrounded by a second free standing tank designed to hold the entire liquid capacity of the inner tank.” Officials said that this adds a layer of complete containment if a natural gas release were to occur.
Perry doesn’t live near the site of the proposed storage facility, but said it’s something that impacts the entire town.
“We have found that many people in town are just not aware of the project and furthermore don’t even know what the project is about. To us that was concerning,” she said.
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