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Water wars: Pipes or paperwork?

March 20. 2017 9:43PM

New Hampshire policy makers are all wet.

Gov. Chris Sununu and the state Senate are diving into legislation designed to provide Granite Staters with clean, safe drinking water.

At the same time, Sununu is asking federal authorities to ease up on new stormwater discharge regulations that he argues would cost local taxpayers greatly, for little benefit.

The state must decide how to best use the $250 million won from Exxon-Mobil in the MtBE lawsuit. That’s a lot of state investment in clean water.

The Senate has already approved SB 57, a $1.5 million appropriation for drinking water and wastewater projects. That bill will be folded into the state budget this spring.

This week, the Senate considers whether to provide $5 million in financing to help connect 100 Amherst homes to a clean water supply.

Two days before President Barack Obama left office, the EPA imposed new stormwater permit requirements on New Hampshire, which Sununu says are overly burdensome and expensive. Rochester estimates it would cost $25 million to comply with the new permit regulations, and it is just one of 44 New Hampshire communities covered.

Sununu has sent a letter to new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt asking to review the new permitting process.

Hopefully, he can convince the Trump administration that New Hampshire would protect its water better than federal bureaucrats.

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