August 15. 2018 10:11PM
To the Editor: Apathy kills things faster than the politicians in Concord.
And a killing time is coming. The fate of the New Hampshire biomass industry will be decided on Sept. 13, which is veto override day at the State House.
Some things will happen before then. New Hampshire has two advocacy groups dedicated to forestry and biomass energy production. The New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association and the New Hampshire Wood Harvesting Council both have a long-term lobbying presence in Concord. But neither are doing enough statewide outreach especially as $100 million dollars, good jobs, and an entire way of life sit in the crosshairs.
If the Legislature does not override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 365, it means the closure of six biomass energy plants and mass layoffs. Some towns will lose as much as 27 percent of their total property tax base, Bethlehem and Tamworth as examples.
The economic consequences for New Hampshire are very real but the biomass industry itself and its Concord lobbyists just aren’t doing enough. One of their priorities is a petition drive by mostly their own members that+ does little to nothing to convince legislators why wood biomass and its subsidies are important for the entire state, not just the North Country where most of this industry is located. If the wood biomass industry can’t come up with a more focused and coherent argument before Sept. 13, they may very well become the definition of apathy themselves.
And then the Legislature will vote.