Laura and I have lived in NH for the past 17 years, moving here for business and career opportunities and I'm now serving my second term in the NH House of Representatives.
We are deeply committed to the local community and chose to build our business, Malloy Interiors, Inc., here in the Seacoast.
Today, I serve on the Board of Trustees of Leadership New Hampshire and the Board of Directors of New Generation Inc. in Greenland. I'm a Trustee of The Trust Funds in Greenland, and am a member of the Ways And Means Committee in the NH House of Representatives.
Before my first election to the NH General Court in 2012, I was the Chief Development Officer at New Hampshire Public Television, for 10 years after serving as Director of Community Relations and Development at Iowa Public Television for 15 years.
Malloy Interiors, Inc. serves businesses, multi-family housing and hospitality clients throughout New England with interior design services.
I also serve as an arbitrator with the Financial Industries Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that provides oversight and regulatory leadership to the securities industry.
I am a graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
10 Van Etten Drive
Greenland, NH 03840
603 970 1827
Dennis Malloy Rockingham 23 House.
NH state revenues have tightened as growth has slowed down according to analyst Phil Sletten of the NH Fiscal Policy Institute. He said it’s still a good revenue situation and we are able to fund the priorities laid out in the state budget, however, “seeing essentially no growth in some of these revenue sources is potentially concerning for the future.”
Members of the Ways and Means Committee developed cautious projections about our revenue for the next two years in anticipation that the current economic expansion may slow down. Through the legislative process this past Spring, those revenue estimates were increased by both the Legislature and Governor. That, combined with a decrease in the business tax rate this year, gave many of us on the Ways and Means Committee doubts about the ability to fund our priorities.
The recently adopted budget by both the Legislature and Governor is dependent on continued economic expansion at a rate that we have seen in years.
I'll keep this post updated with revenue developments.
On October 4, 2017 the work of the Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster officially came to an end, but not before the EPA left the room in stunned silence by announcing there is no current unacceptable human health risk at the Coakley landfill located in North Hampton and Greenland. The shocked Task Force members couldn’t believe what they were hearing when measured PFC’s in surface water running off the Coakley landfill are among the highest in the world.
Dr. Tom Sherman the chair of the task force said he believed “there was some consensus between DES and EPA that at least the surface water running off the Coakley landfill did present a problem," and “the goal was to move toward remediation.” The EPA’s announcement silenced the room and changed the entire dynamic of the conversation.
Dr. Sherman said that, “we have a situation where we have the Coakley landfill with known toxic substances sitting at the highest point of the Seacoast with radial flow toward at least most of the municipal water systems and several private water systems and the EPA right now is not planning to anything about it?”
The EPA said it will tell the Coakley Landfill Group at its October 23 meeting to “conduct the bedrock investigation,” which will take up to two years. Greenland resident and water activist Jillian Lane said “it’s hard to imagine how the EPA would come to its conclusions,” when “Coakley has already contaminated residential drinking water wells on our road.”
I’ve included a Portsmouth Herald article below about the events of October 4 and the shocker that occurred at the final meeting of the Task Force.
I will be calling on the Commission to address this serious contamination problem immediately.
I was proud to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. Its work has concluded and will now be taken up by The Governor’s Commission on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. What started as an examination of cancer triggers, soon included an in-depth look at the many waste products that are contained in the landfills and EPA Superfund sites throughout the Seacoast.
For the New Hampshire 2018-2019 budget to meet our obligations, survive the business tax cuts and prevent steep property tax increases our economy needs to grow at a whopping 7% per year for the next 10 years.
The consensus among economists is that we’ll see a 1.5 to 2.0% growth rate per year for the next two years. Last year after the first small cut our business tax revenue dropped by $2 million even as the economy grew.
The tax cuts will force future legislatures to make deeper spending cuts that will weaken service to citizens and businesses alike, and force municipalities, school districts and counties to cover the gaps.
The lost revenue created by the business tax cuts will result in continued downshifting of the state responsibilities to local taxpayers. While there is road improvement money for communities this year, this is one-time money only and is not expected to continue which means increased pressure on property tax payers.
Business taxes are NH’s largest source of revenue, and we should be very concerned about the cuts that are proposed in this budget. In its report to the House Ways and Means Committee the NH Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) said that 3%of the business entities that file tax returns pay about 70% of the business tax revenues received by the state each year and that over 50% of the business tax revenues each year are paid by multinational corporations. Seventy-seven percent of the business profits revenues are paid by 800 business entities and 31% of the revenues paid by just 45 companies.
Of the businesses that are either “active” or in “good standing” 70% pay no business taxes at all.
Combining the proposed tax cuts with a Federal Reserve predicted economic growth rate of 2.1% and an estimated 2% inflation rate, NH could experience an annual loss of $101 million by the year 2022.
NH already ranks 7th lowest in the nation for total business tax assessment and companies doing business in NH have continually said that job training programs and expanding the work force are the most effective way to grow current and new businesses here. While business has stated that a quality work force is a higher priority than changing the tax code, this year the legislature eliminated a federally funded jobs training program that employers would prefer.
A loss of revenue, elimination of federal funds for jobs training programs, one-time support to local communities and flat funding of higher education are the real headlines out of this budget. This means future state spending cuts and increase in local property taxes.
We’ve been through this before. When state spending was slashed in the Bill O’Brien led legislature in 2011 property taxes rose throughout NH because, among other things, the state decided it wouldn’t support pension funds for local police and teachers, so local property tax payers picked up the difference.
None of this may come to pass if we realize an unheard of 7% annual economic growth rate. On paper, the budget is balanced through 2019, but I don’t believe it’s fiscally sound. Here’s hoping that NH’s economy grows at such a staggering rate that we don’t have to worry about future revenue losses and putting property owners on the hook for the difference.
That's the title of an editorial published by the Portsmouth Herald July 17.
The NH Department of Environmental Services has acknowledged that contamainatns from the Coakley landfill are migrating from the Superfund cleanup site and measures should be put into place to stop it.
I've included a link to the piece in the Press Section below. It's a detailed write-up on the Coakley landfill status and a strong call to fix this situation now.
The Portsmouth Herald said, "Those who argue the levels of contamination are less than an almost arbitrary number are probably not drinking the water or willing to on a daily basis."
The most pressing question is how PFCs are leaching from the landfill and gettin ginto Berry's brook, instead of seeping into the ground."
Thank you Portsmouth Herald for standing with our area legislators and local residents for a clearly stated demand that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take immediate action.
Dave Solomon of the Union Leader writes on Sunday July 17 that he received "a lot of feedback" on a recent column regarding the impact of lower business taxes on the state revenue.
In my opinion, today's piece tells a better tale about the impact of those cuts, whether the tax cut has improved NH revenues or the general growth of the economy is the reason for our revenue improvement.
State Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord says that the 2016 revenues that are so widely touted as proving the advantages of lower business taxes were based on business activity in 2015 and some of 2014 when the tax cuts were not in affect.
He goes on to say that the economy was taking off coming out of the recession and that the tax cuts of 2016 were not material to this improved revenue.
Economist Brian Gottlob of Dover says that state revenues have been strong over the past two years, but that business tax revenue was actually slightly lower in 2017 than in 2016.
He's correct. We studied these numbers in the House Ways and Means Committee and our group had lengthy conversations about the effect the new cuts may have on future revenues.
I've attached a link to Solomon's piece in the Press section below.
The NH House and Senate approved a budget for the next two years, and the Governor has signed off on it. But before I get to the budget, I am pleased to say that I did support two very important bills that were outside of the budget.
Full-Day Kindergarten & Seacoast Water Quality
I voted to support funding for full-day kindergarten with revenue from newly-approved Keno gaming. The legislation makes clear that allowing Keno is a local option for each municipality, and it sets forth the process by which a municipality can act on the question. If Keno revenue misses the mark, there is a guarantee that support for full-day kindergarten will not be jeopardized.
We established a permanent commission that grew out of the discovery of a Seacoast cancer cluster which will recommend long term goals and requirements to insure safe drinking water in the Seacoast area. The Commission will develop a long term plan to protect our state’s most valuable resource, drinking water. Seacoast Communities will each have a seat at the table to identify threats to drinking water and any connection to the health and safety of our residents. I was a co-sponsor of this bill, HB 484 that has been signed into law.
The Recently Adopted Budget
Due to my work on the House Ways and Means Committee and many hours of studying NH’s revenue sources, I decided to vote against the overall budget because I believe it overspends the amount of revenue we can expect over the next two years. My vote also reflected other priorities and initiatives that I believed deserved a more thorough analysis and guarantee that we can effectively provide drug treatment, support of the university system and property tax relief.
This budget approved further tax cuts for our business community, cuts they are not asking the state to do. The tax cuts in current law from the last budget cycle will cost us $20 million this year alone. When the latest round of business tax cuts are added in, they will grow exponentially until the loss of revenue reaches $128 million in fiscal year 2022. Altogether the total cost balloons to $208 million.
Our business community repeatedly said that an educated work force is their top priority, but this budget eliminates the bipartisan agreement to develop the Granite Workforce Program. This would be funded using federal money designed specifically to help low income workers to gain the skills that both the workers and our businesses urgently need.
The budget flat funded our university system, again saddling our students and their families with the highest tuition in the country and waving good-bye as those students leave New Hampshire and future jobs for greener pastures. Considering inflation, this represents a cut to the university system.
We are in the midst of an opioid crisis that has not improved and in fact, has become worse since the last budget. The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery could see a diversion of its funds to the Sununu Center, thereby affecting contracts and reducing funds available for treatment services. This plan to allow money to be taken away from alcohol and drug abuse funds to support juvenile justice programs is an improper use of these funds. Some believe that opening the alcohol abuse and prevention and treatment fund is a dangerous precedent that could quickly deplete the funds.
There was an additional $36.8 million for highway and bridge projects, however these funds must “supplement not supplant” local appropriations and therefore limits their effectiveness as property tax relief. Similarly, the additional environmental grant funding is the state share for water and waste projects already due under statute, but previously suspended.
The meals and rooms tax catch up formula is suspended for both years of the biennium. The additional $5 million municipalities are to receive in this budget over the last biennial budget is not “new” money; were the catch up formula in place in the FY 18/19 budget, municipalities would receive an additional $15 million in that distribution base on revenue projections. It is important to understand that the real level of property tax relief provided in this budget.
When the school bell rings in September, there will not be a single new dollar of support for our children attending kindergarten under a bill signed off on by Republicans. In the following year, schools will receive only 80 percent of adequacy funds. Thereafter, full payment for kindergarten adequacy will depend upon the state’s success at keno. This represents an 11th-hour partisan departure from what Senate Bill 191 had looked like at any point during the legislative process, and this keno-for-kindergarten marriage has big problems.
The above is the opening paragraph of an opinion piece written by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and Senators David Watters and Dan Feltes that appeared June 10 in the Concord Monitor.
On Thursday, June 22 the NH House of Representatives will vote on this latest proposal that has now run into constitutional problems.
Volinsky, Watters and Feltes continue: The 11th-hour Republican deal under consideration fails the same constitutional test because it does not pay for full-day kindergarten now and will not pay for it in the future if keno revenues are insufficient.
It's entirely possible that the new bill will fail, but I agree with the authors that if the bill fails, I will remain committed to forging a bipartisan compromise to fully fund kindergarten with a new, constitutional bill.
I agree that our schools, our taxpayers and, most importantly, our kids deserve nothing less.
The House of Representatives voted 191-162 to pass SB 3, legislation that eliminates the domicile affidavit and adds over 350 words to the voter registration form used within 30 days of an election.
I voted against this bill, understanding clearly why no town election officials were in favor of this complication to our election laws.
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said, “Today’s vote in support of SB 3 was a partisan sabotage of the election process that will do nothing but confuse and intimidate new voters. This legislation adds over 350 words to the registration form that new voters will be required to read, and swear to understand, with the pressure of a growing line behind them at the polls on Election Day.”
“Requiring voters to read and comprehend an entire essay at the polls is unnecessary, intimidating, and only complicates work of election officials who will be tasked with helping voters understand the registration requirements.”
“No local election officials testified in support of this bill because the current process works well. SB 3 is an illogical solution in search of a problem that will increase bureaucracy and expenses on local taxpayers.”
“This legislation was clearly designed to placate those who buy into President Trump’s discredited assertion that fraud cost him the popular vote in New Hampshire. Leaders from both parties denounced those assertions, and as we know from the reports released following every single New Hampshire election, voter fraud is not an issue in our state.”
“Our election officials deserve support for the hard work they do preserving the integrity of our elections. Advancing the myth of ‘voter fraud’ is not only disrespectful to those who enforce our laws, it also threatens the confidence in our First in the Nation Presidential Primary.”
The House of Representatives voted 231-100 to pass SB 191, legislation that would provide additional funds to communities with full day public kindergarten programs.
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said, “I am thrilled that the House has stepped up to support providing additional funds to communities that offer full day public kindergarten. The benefits of early childhood education, to the social and academic development of our children, are clear. This bill is a long-overdue recognition of those benefits, and a signal to working families and the business community that we understand our obligation to offer all New Hampshire children the opportunity for a high quality education. Support of full day public kindergarten is a top priority for House Democrats, and I am pleased that the Republican majority has joined us in recognizing the benefit of this investment.”
I was proud to vote in favor of this bill and what it means for our newest generation in New Hampshire. This is long overdue and our governor has stated that he will sign this when it comes to his desk.
I want to thank all the residents of Greenland who voted to support full-day kindergarten in March and now the state of NH will be supporting our efforts here.
I've attached both Portsmouth Herald and Manchester Union Leader reports on the NH Senate passage of House Bill 463 that better protects residents from PFCs in our water.
The Senate passed this bill unanimously despite the opposition of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.
Senator Dan Innis R-New Castle called the passage "a pretty big deal," and encourages the DES to look beyond the EPA," when setting its health advisory standards for PFOS and PFOA.
I want to commend Senator Innis for his work in the face of the the BIA opposition. Senator Innis was instrumental in passing an amendment to HB 463 requiring the state Department of Environmental Services to initiate rulemaking for setting new standards of these chemicals.
The state Senate Energy Committee voted 5-0 to approve an amendment to House Bill 463, which would better protect state residents from PFCs in our water.
This bill requires the state Department of Environmental Services to to initiate rulemaking to consider states with lower standards that reasonably protect the public, particularly pre-natal and childhood health.
The bill will go to the Senate floor next week, and the amendment passed despite opposition from the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire and DES. Rye Representative and bill sponsor Mindi Messmer says the bill sends an important message that it's an important issue to protect our most vulnerable populations, Mindi Messmer says.
The House Election Law Committee held a six-hour hearing on SB 3, a bill that many election officials say will lead to a complicated registration form that would lead to delays and confusion at the polls.
The NH Municipal Association believes the proposed bill would be almost impossible to implement.
Under the bill, a standard voter registration form would be used to register at most times during the year (as it is in current law). However, a different form, the state general election day registration form--currently used only when registering at the polls on the day of a state general election--would be used not only at the state general election, but also when anyone registers within 30 days before any election (town or city election, state primary, state general election, presidential primary); but the standard form would still be used to register on the day of any election other than the state general election.
Things get even more complicated when looking at the bill's requirements for proving domicile. Anyone registering "in advance of an election"--whether one day, 30 days, or 100 days--must either present one of several listed documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, etc.) or present "other reasonable documentation' to establish domicile. Someone who does not have "reasonable documentation" would not be able to register--he or she would have to return with the documentation, or register at the polls on election day.
It will be virtually impossible for clerks and supervisors of the checklist to keep these requirements straight. The bill contains contradictory statements about what the supervisors are to do when a voter tries to present the required documents after an election, and even contradicts itself regarding what action is, or is not, sufficient to establish domicile, among other things.
When this comes to the House, I will be voting against this bill.
The NH Senate has approved HB 484 establishing a commission on the seacoast cancer cluster investigation. I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of this important bill that insures our families are protected from cancer causing chemicals right here in the Seacoast.
The Portsmouth Herald has a complete write-up of this important move that can be found below in the Press section of this blog.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives failed to pass a budget for the first time in decades, and relinquished the duty of establishing a budget to the Senate. The House will get another up or down vote on the budget later but right now Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack is trying to deflect blame from his party by trying to assign some responsibility to the Democrats for this loss even though Republicans control all three branches of government in New Hampshire.
There were many items in the Republican budget that Democrats found attractive and we were willing to work with the leadership to develop a budget that would pass the entire House.
The budget that failed included Constitutional Carry, more oversight of the University System of New Hampshire—even though it’s governed by an extraordinarily qualified board of community leaders, educators and business people—and permitting school boards to ship children to nonsectarian private schools if there is a public school around to serve a child’s needs. One doubts that Representative Hinch will find many Democrats with these priorities, especially when the Republicans insist on including reforming election laws to “prevent drive-by voting” and no funding for full day Kindergarten.
The Ways and Means Committee heard many bills this term that offered more tax credit for business on the claim that this will encourage business to either expand or move here to NH. These pitches always sound good but the real reason business is having a tough time expanding here is because our current work force isn’t big enough to fill the jobs that require technically savvy people. We have talented workers of all ages here and our colleges are doing a great job of education and training. We just don’t have enough. It’s not about more tax breaks.
Democrats didn’t support the budget even though it included some Democratic priorities, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the clear priorities of the Republican Party that insists on more oversight of our public educational system and restricting voting, among other things.
Representative Hinch said in a recent opinion piece published in the Manchester Union Leader that the “House Republican Majority in Concord is committed to building a coalition that will ensure that our Republican principles are represented in the legislation that we pass and the people of New Hampshire have confidence in the Legislature and their state government."
We now have to wait and see what the Senate will craft but here’s hoping that the Senate got the strong message from House Democrats that there are some items on which compromise will be tough.
Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 177-169 to defeat HB 2, the state budget proposal recommended by the House Finance Committee.
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after the vote:
“Democrats opposed this budget because it fails to support the priorities so important to the people of New Hampshire. At a time when Granite Staters see the opioid crisis as the most important problem facing our state, this budget proposal fails to adequately fund the services that are so desperately needed to stem the tide of addiction.
Despite clear direction on the funding needed for developmental disability services, this budget could leave us with the biggest waitlist for essential services in a decade.”
“In the face of strong bipartisan support, including from our state’s Republican governor, House budget writers elected to remove funding for full-day kindergarten from the budget. This action not only hinders our goal to build the workforce that will drive our economy into the future, it also tells young working families that their priorities are not in line with ours.”
“This budget requires retired state employees to, yet again, pay increased portions of health care costs that were promised to them. These retirees, many of whom live on fixed incomes, cannot afford yet another increase in health insurance costs.”
“We reached out to Speaker Jasper on multiple occasions to see if we could find common ground. Democrats on the Finance committee offered a number of amendments that would have improved the budget proposal, including the governor’s plan for full-day kindergarten.
This is just one of the first steps in the budget process, and Democrats remain ready to work across the aisle on a budget that works for the people of our state.”
It costs Southern NH drivers and extra $500 a year in vehicle repairs due to poor road conditions. There is a solution and all of us can save money if we followed a plan offered by my Ways and Committee Chairman Norm Major.
Rep. Major developed a plan to deal with this. The full text is below in Press section of this site.
Serving on the House The Ways & Means Committee means developing revenue estimates for NH.
Our General/Education Trust Fund estimate is $87 million below the Governor and $25 million below the agencies for the three years that include this year's final surplus and the two
-year budget being worked by the Finance Committee. For July16-June17, the fiscal year we are in now, we are $3 million below the agencies and $28 million below the Governor.
The Department of Revenue Administration has the lion's share of "agency" estimates, and gives us a fairly wide range for each tax. It's up to the members of the Ways and Means Committee to make the decisions about where they may be going.
Our ranking member of the committee Susan Almy of Lebanon, NH provides the following analysis of how we developed these revenue estimates.
The W&M estimate was unanimous. It is done by collecting as much data and opinion as we can get, then sitting down and having each committee member contribute their thoughts on what is influencing the changes we are seeing now in FY17 and expect or fear in the following two years. Then we all throw out
numbers, average them, think about it again, and vote on one or more options.
The primary problem is the business taxes. FY16 taxes (money in in July15-June16) were paid on FY15 economic activity. As it happens, national economic growth started to slow during mid-14-mid15, and
slowed more during last year's major election-year uncertainty. Businesses paid good taxes in FY16 on the FY15 activity, and set up estimates on that basis to pay during this fiscal year of FY17.
Few of them changed the estimates, they left them there till they file returns. As they began filing returns for their varied
fiscal years, more than usual asked for refunds, and produced new lower estimates.
We have had a large spurt in refunds, and we are not yet in the main filing period (March-April) for FY17. The DRA can't give us much information about the main filing period in time for the House budget to go out, but we intend to meet again to review the estimates on the 23rd and try to discern whether the risk seems lower.
If we guess too high, and the money isn't there after the budget is passed, the legislature will have to return and make cuts to budgeted programs, cuts that hurt more when you have to make up for 4 months of more of overspending.
What I think is happening is that part of the official surplus booked for FY16 is artificial, a construct of how accounting
works. We got extra taxes in 2016, more than we should have based on what the businesses owed. It is now seen as a surplus which can be used for one-time capital costs. But we are having to give part of that surplus back in refunds (and perhaps lower estimates) now. If we leave that money in an account for one-time uses, expenditures for basic operations in this next budget will be short-changed. And yes, all those tax cuts passed in recent years do not help the situation.
I just received a thank-you note from AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett for my suppport of working families in NH.
President Brackett said, "I want to extend my sincerest thanks for your support in defeating so-called Right to Work legislation. We particularly appreciate the extra efforts made by House Democrats to brave the wintery weather and be in attendance when the SB11 vote was called."
He adds that, "this victory belongs to all of us who care about the security of Granite State working families and the quality of life in our communities. "
In my view, the issue is good wages, protecting middle-class jobs and advancing workplace fairness in our state. These are values that I believe we all share.
State Rep. Mindi Messmer's bill calling for the establishment of a commission to study the Seacoast Pediatric Cancer Cluster won unanimous support from the New Hampshire House's Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee February 28.
I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill along with many other state representatives and state senators. This issue has garnered strong bi-partisan support.
"This shows how really important the issue is and how this commission will let us address it in an expedient manner," according to Messmer, D-Rye.
If the bill is ultimately passed by the entire House and Senate and signed into law the commission will replace a task force U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan formed in 2016 when she was governor.
Hassan formed the task force after state officials determined there was a small cancer cluster of rhabdomyosarcoma or RMS, which has caused the death of several area children.
While looking at the RMS cases, the state also identified "a small excess of pediatric lung cancer cases," all of which "were of a single rare type called pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB)."
Messmer pointed out that the commission will have both "an established end point and specified reporting" deadlines.A bill that establishes a permanent commission to study and deal with water quality
I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 485 that protects the unborn and infants from unsafe levels of chemicals, especially PFCs and 1.4-dioxane, in our drinking water. When enacted, this bill will help protect children and residents from unsafe levels of PFCs in Greenland, Rye, North Hampton, Merrimack, Litchfield, Manchester and Portsmouth. HB485 got a unanimous vote from the Subcommittee and is scheduled to be voted in committee on February 22, 2017. It’s expected to pass and be sent to the full House for a vote. Currently, EPA and NHDES feel that using adult rather than early life exposure is protective enough. We don't agree. This bill also protects the department by using a prescribed method and allowing the commissioner to enact criteria that are more stringent than the EPA.
Among many important things that the Governor specifically mentioned in his budget address is safe drinking water and protecting our most vulnerable - our children. These things go hand in hand when one talks about drinking water.
Supporting HB 485 and many others during this legislative session makes us an integral part of pushing forward on the Governor’s stated goals and this important effort in our state.
We know that PFCs are not safe in our drinking water at the current levels that NHDES allows. Ingestion of 50 ppt of PFOA (only one of the PFCs) has been shown to cause health effects in a landmark 69,000-person epidemiological study of DuPont workers. The results of this study have resulted in several judgements against DuPont and a $670 million dollar settlement this past week on 3,550 lawsuits
Other bills that seek to protect drinking water or address effects from are:
HB431 - Commission centers on protection of seacoast drinking water and mutual aid between towns
HB484 - Commission to continue the important work of the Task Force to investigate the Seacoast Pediatric Cancer Cluster
HB-511 - Commission to use existing data sources to identify threats to public health from environmental exposure. Also includes important development of guidelines for doctors and health care practitioners to respond to exposures from emerging contaminants (constituent requested amendment).
HB 507 establishing penalties for making drinking water non-potable
HB 486 protecting water resources by establishing state buffers around wetlands
HB 119 restoring state aid grants for water infrastructure
HB 173 giving municipality’s broader ability to prohibit lawn watering during droughts. (Passed RR&D)
This week the NH House voted overwhelmingly to establish a commission to study changes to state tax law. Goals include reducing the burden on property taxes under the current tax structure and evaluate the taxes and other revenue sources that provide the most revenue to the state with regard to their ability to foster or impede the goals of growth and to attract and retain the young people needed to reverse current demographic trends that threaten such growth. NH has experienced significant economic and demographic changes and this bill will help policy makers understand how to best deal with these accelerating changes.
The tax structure of NH is very complex and relies on many sources to support education, infrastructure, human services, recreation and law enforcement efforts. The Ways and Means Committee, on which I serve, acknowledges that being without a sales or income tax is what makes, and will continue to make, NH unique. The commission shall make proposals to adapt the state’s tax structure to these needs as it sees fit. The committee unanimously supported this bill as amended.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 200-177 to defeat SB 11, legislation that would establish so-called “right to work” in the state.
House Democratic leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said: “The strong, bipartisan vote against so-called ‘right to work’ today is great news for New Hampshire workers. As we have seen in other states, ‘right to work’ laws result in reduced wages and make it harder for people to earn a living that supports a family. While this divisive issue was a distraction from the pressing matters facing our state, the House’s vote to ‘Indefinitely Postpone’ SB 11 ends debate on the issue for the rest of this term. The legislature’s focus can now shift to the state budget and our response to the opioid crisis, where it should have been all along.”
Representative Doug Ley (D-Jaffrey), the Ranking Democrat on the House Labor Committee said: “Today’s vote was a confirmation of what we determined in the House Labor Committee, where Democrats and Republicans worked together to recommend defeat of so-called ‘right to work.’ With a strong economy and the lowest unemployment rate in America, legislation that reduces wages and interferes with the employer/employee relationship is the last thing our state needs. I am very pleased that the full House agreed with the bipartisan Labor Committee recommendation, and that we can finally put this issue behind us.”
The House of Representatives voted 200-97 today to pass SB 12, which would repeal the requirement to obtain a permit prior to carrying a concealed weapon. After the vote, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement:
“The 94-year old requirement to obtain a permit before carrying a concealed weapon is one of the commitments to public safety that results in New Hampshire being frequently cited as one of the safest states in the nation,” said Representative Shurtleff.
“A poll by Survey USA released just last week confirmed that the people of New Hampshire strongly oppose this effort to repeal the concealed carry license. A full 80% of Granite Staters stated that they support our current law, which allows concealed weapons to be kept away from individuals that should not have them, including those with dementia or alcoholism.”
"The urgency that House leadership exhibited in rushing this bill through the legislative process gives a clear signal to the priorities of Republican lawmakers this term. Senate bills have traditionally only been taken up prior to House bills in the most urgent of situations. The fact that House Republicans would rush legislation which is opposed by 80% of Granite Staters shows that their priorities are with their party, not the people they represent.”
The 94 year-old law was supported by the NH Police Chiefs Association, and I chose to support their efforts our behalf of the safety of NH citizens and our law enforcement community. Under the now repealed law, citizens who were denied the permit to carry a concealed weapon were able to appeal that decision.
New Hampshire is currently in a great financial position, with a large surplus and historically-high Rainy Day Fund thanks to the strong position left by Governor Hassan’s administration.
Today Governor Sununu said that he's in support of full-day kindergarten and funding for the developmentally disabled, but as we all know, the devil is in the details.
We should be concerned about the $500 million cut from state agency budget requests and what that could mean to the citizens of New Hampshire.
The Governor’s budget address made no mention of the successful NH Health Protection Program, leaving serious unanswered questions for the 50,000 Granite Staters who rely on the program for their health care coverage.
I remain committed to working with our Republican colleagues on bipartisan initiatives, and on supporting a fiscally responsible budget that makes needed investments in initiatives that benefit all Granite Staters.
More than 150 people packed the cafe at Bethany Church in Greenland, NH Thursday night to hear why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the health advisory level for two dangerous PFCs at 70 parts per trillion, when other states use lower-and more protective-numbers.
Community leaders including Greenland residents with extensive water quality and geologic experience wanted to know why 70 parts per trillion is a standard for New Hampshire and whether that will ever be changed.
That number is three times what the limit is in Vermont and both former Portsmouth city council member Stefany Shaheen and State Rep. Mindi Messmer, D-Rye agreed that this number should be lowered and Messmer said residents should be careful about drinking water from their residential wells.
I am co-sponsoring state legislation with Rep. Messmer to establish a permanent commission to deal with water issues throughout the state and to establish safe drinking water standards for NH. Two bills have been introduced in the NH House of Representatives, with two more coming soon that deal with these issues important to everyone in the state.
A more complete report on Thursday's meeting is available on the Press section below.
I attended the Friday January 20 breakfast at Great Bay Community College that included major employers who talked about the relationships they've made with New Hampshire community colleges.
Seacoast employers including Sig Sauer, Safron, Albany Composites and Exeter Health Care Systems explained their partnerships with community colleges and how important it was for these schools to help provide a workforce that is ready to go to work in a fast paced technology based world of today,
Community college Chancellor Ross Gittell cited a commitment to focusing on a student's "career and purpose" starting in high school, then carrying it forward into the community college system and then, perhaps, to the university level.
Our community colleges are an essential part of New Hampshire's educational infrastructure and are critical to attracting and keeping major employers in our state.
Attached below under the Press heading I've included the text of the Seacoast On-line report published January 21, 2017.
State Representative Mindi Messmer of Rye, NH and Jeff Barnum of the Conservation Law Foundation led a meeting of Greenland Selectmen and Greenland, NH residents on Monday showing the presence of perflourochemicals in surface water around Coakley landfill, including in Berry's Brook.
It's hoped these new results will lead to the Coakley Landfill Group help pay to pipe municipal water to Greenland residents after the town's selectmen requested the service.
Max Sullivan of Seacoastonline reported on the meeting and the complete article is attached in the Press section of this site.
The nearly two-hour meeting saw comments from residents, legislators, selectmen, the EPA and the NH Department of Environmental Services.
Greenland Selectmen earlier in the evening approved a warrant article for the March ballot to increase the town's budget by $25,000 in anticipation of expenses related to dealing with delivering clean water to town residents.
I was proud to cast a vote today in support of retaining the Children and Family Law Committee, which addresses the rights, obligations and application of criminal laws to minors, divorce, child custody and support, the Child Protection Act and the Children In Need Of Services program.
House leadership had proposed eliminating the committee and House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement after the vote. “House Democrats today showed their capacity to influence the body on changes to House Rules. I am most proud of our caucus for their outspoken dedication to the protection of children. The concise, passionate presentations on the House floor in favor of retaining the Children and Family Law Committee led to 35 Republican members joining House Democrats in the vote to keep the committee in place.”
“Moving the complex and important duties of the Children and Family Law Committee to three other overburdened committees would have shortchanged the vulnerable children of our state. I am very happy that the majority of House members opposed the proposal.”
“I am in full support of Speaker Jasper’s announcement that he will be naming a special committee to address the independent review of the Quality Assurance of the Division of Children, Youth and Families. Due to the urgency of the concerns outlined in the independent review, it is my hope that this committee is named quickly with qualified members appointed to fix these important concerns.”
This is a note from Donna Gamache of Eversource regarding not only the upcoming weather situation but provides some information on how Eversource plans for emergency weather procedures. I thought this might be valuable information as we move into the winter season.
In anticipation of the arrival of a winter storm, I (Donna Gamache) wanted to provide some information to you concerning our preparations. We are bracing for the possibility of a multiple day event in some areas of the state.
The snow is beginning to fly in the westernmost areas of the state and will move across to the east and to the north throughout the day. Snow amounts are expected to range from 12 - 20 inches in the north country, 9 - 15 inches in western and central areas, and 1 - 7 inches in southern portion of the state toward the seacoast. The heaviest show is expected to fall between 5:00pm and midnight today, but a key factor in predicting the potential damage to our system is the water content of the snow. We are always concerned when snow is heavy and wet.
As the storm moves out, winds are expected to pick up. We anticipate gusts that will range generally from 35 to 45 MPH, with peak gusts near 50 MPH along the coast. It is these winds paired with the fallen heavy snow that has caused us to prepare for customer outages.
The Eversource Incident Command Center is opening today at 1pm to ensure an efficient restoration, should it be needed. Over night, we secured more than 150 contractor crews, including support from New Brunswick, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont. These crews, in addition to our own, are being positioned throughout the state today to be able to respond as quickly as possible.
However, it is critical that we are aware of our local emergency operations, including police and fire, as they are in the best position to provide assistance to someone in need more quickly. Our focus during large outage events is to restore hospitals, shelters, gas stations and critical local municipal operations first as these facilities can provide assistance to the largest number of residents in need. We then move on to the general restoration activities after these are secured.
Finally, I wanted you to be aware that we began to alert our medically-coded customers yesterday afternoon of the potential for outages from the storm. We proactively reach out to these customers so they might have time to make arrangements for their safety. However, we are aware of the locations of these customers on our system for the most part, and we do what we can to ensure they can get power restored in a timely manner.
Each storm is different, however, and we can never guarantee how quickly this will take place which is why we urge these customers to seek assistance in advance.
Please feel free to follow us on twitter and to watch our outage map on our website at www.eversource.com for any information. I will provide updates as necessary during the storm.
Please be safe and stay warm and don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have.
On Monday December 12, the Greenland Safe Water Action organized and presented before the Portsmouth City Council a compelling and emotional plea to provide safe drinking water to residents along Breakfast Hill Road in Greenland worried about their proximity to the Coakley Landfill.
Greenland Selectman Paul Sanderson requested that Portsmouth city councilors listen carefully to the Greenland residents assembled in the hall and invited the councilors to join with Greenland officials to find a way to bring safe drinking water to the affected area in Greenland.
The Portsmouth Herald provided extensive coverage of the meeting and followed up with more in-depth analysis of the situation. The articles are attached in the Press section of this site.
I want to commend Greenland Safe Water Action for organizing a thoughtful, and information packed presentation.
I noticed that the Portsmouth councilors were engaged and listening carefully to Greenland residents who are in the path of the potentially expanding plume that may contain toxic substances leaching from the Coakley Landfill.
At the Wednesday Seacoast Pediatric Cancer Cluster Task Force meeting the group unanimously passed their investigation into two types of rare childhood cancers, which also included a series of recommended actions.
Full Portsmouth Herald coverage of the meeting can be found in the Press section of this website.
I'm also pleased to announced that I've been elected to the Task Force subcommittee investigating the Coakley Landfill. The next meeting of the subcommittee will be this Wednesday in Rye.
I was saddened to read this morning that Portsmouth’s City Planner Peter Britz, writing on behalf of the Coakley Landfill Group that “public water connections requested by the town of Greenland are neither necessary nor warranted at this time.” This response gives little comfort to Greenland residents who live near the Coakley Landfill site, especially the 50 who in good conscious made an impassioned and reasoned plea at Monday night's Greenland Selectman meeting to protect them against potential contaminants flowing out of the site.
The full text of Peter Britz’s response is included on the media section of my site.
Families who live near the site didn’t bargain for this when they decided to settle in Greenland, raise their families, attend our school and enjoy this beautiful setting in the Seacoast.
I applaud the Greenland Selectmen who unanimously called for Portsmouth to supply public water to these frightened families, water that is pumped from our own well in Greenland!
It was clear during last Monday’s Greenland Selectman’s meeting that our town’s elected officials are on top of this and strongly encouraged our residents to take this matter directly to the Portsmouth City Council. Greenland Town Administrator Karen Anderson said that the management teams of the affected communities are also actively communicating about this concern that stretches beyond Greenland.
I was heartened to read that It sounds like Greenland will get a hearing by the Portsmouth City Council as reported in the December 14, 2016 Portsmouth Herald. We should. Portsmouth was the biggest use of the landfill in North Hampton and Greenland from 1972-1982. Greenland has unfortunate distinction of hosting this site.
At least our elected officials are demonstrating their care and concern. It would be nice if those who are responsible for the management and oversight of the landfill would demonstrate this same concern for the safety and health of our citizens.
A test of surface water taken from Breakfast Hill showed levels of PFCs nearly three times the permanent lifetime health advisory level for drinking water.
The Conservation Law Foundation conducted the tests on three samples taken from surface water around the Coakley landfill after state Rep.-elect Mindi Messmer approached the group with her concerns about contaminants leaching from the Superfund site, Great Bay–Piscataqua waterkeeper Jeff Barnum said Wednesday.
A complete Seacoast On-Line article published December 1, can be found here under the Press tab of my website.
This is an important and troubling development in finding remediation for Greenland residents who live near the Coakley site. Greenland Selectmen and Town Administrator Karen Anderson are paying very close attention to these developments and I am working with state Rep-elect Mindi Messmer to file legislation to put a permanent commission in place to deal with this and the other 150 landfill sites in New Hampshire.
I will publish more on the path of the legislation as this develops and keep you informed on the activities of our Greenland officials who do understand the seriousness of this situation.
There’s a detailed write-up in the Friday November 11, 2016 Portsmouth Herald by Jeff McMenemy about a site walk of the Coakley landfill hosted by the Coakley Landfill Group held on November 10. I recommend that one reads this to more fully understand the issues involved.
I attended the nearly two hour presentation along with over 50 concerned citizens, public officials and representatives of Environmental Protection Agency and N.H. Department of Environmental Services to hear a presentation by the Coakley Landfill Group.
We heard about how the landfill was capped and shown maps outlining the landfill itself and the monitoring wells that were established to measure water pressure and contaminants. We also heard how surface water flows off of the cap of the landfill and flows into retention ponds and into nearby streams. Officials would not commit to saying whether the landfill is harming ground water or private wells and claim the landfill is doing its job.
Governor Hassan formed a task force on the Seacoast Pediatric cancer cluster earlier this year after state officials determined that there was a small cancer cluster of rhabdomyosarcoma or RMS, which caused the deaths of several area children. Several area parents believe the cancers could have been triggered by environmental factors. Part of the task force’s work led to concerns about contamination from Coakley.
The task force appointed Representative elect Mindi Messmer of Rye, to chair a subcommittee that is studying the Coakley landfill. Its recommendations will be presented and voted on by the task force on November 16 at 3 p.m., in Portsmouth City Hall.
As your Representative elect from Greenland and Newington, I have been attending the regularly scheduled meetings of both the task force and its subcommittee and have given Ms. Messmer my commitment to work on fully understanding the hazards and risks that may be emanating from the landfill, and taking steps at the state level to mitigate any dangers and risks that are revealed.
Other elected officials who attended included outgoing state Rep. David Borden of New Castle, state Rep.-elect Mindi Messmer of Rye, Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine and Portsmouth state Rep. Jacqueline A. Cali-Pitts.
Since the "2009" economic recovery" research and development by industry has grown 5.1 percent in NH, and 17.8 percent nationally. University R&D grew 6.7 percent in NH and 16.2 percent nationwide. That's according to a 60 page report that outlines how the state can speed up innovation-led development by better coordination university research with existing businesses.
According to Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research at the University of New Hampshire and state director for NH EPSCor (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), which commissioned the study.
Clearly the NH results are well below the national averages.
Nisbet said she wants a statewide committee--comprising business, government, higher educational and public-sector members-- to have more discussions with groups before focusing on what specific actions to pursue.
"Our economic future hinges on this plan and what is stands for--industry,
university, government working together--and I think it does a nice job of setting the vision," according to Hypertherm executive Mike Shipulski. "This is about research and the state's economy," Shipulski said.
The reports suggested generating talented workers both by attracting and retaining people in-state and strengthening the state's innovation ecosystem, such as technology parks and incubators.
Matt Cookson, executive director at the New Hampshire High Tech Council, noted a "talent gap" with 3,000 tech job opening a month in New Hampshire.
Val Zanchuk, chairman of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, announced that the BIA and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation are collaborating on a multi-year program for a "very proactive approach" on expanding the state's workforce.
A subcommittee of a task force formed to address the environmental and health threats posed by the Coakley landfill will hold its first meeting Thursday October 13.
Mindi Messmer, a scientist, environmental consultant and Rye resident is chair of the newly formed committee and says that members of the public will be able to pose questions to members of the state Department of Environmental Services and Environmental Protection Agency.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Rye Junior High School.
The EPA just issued a series of new recommendations recently aimed at monitoring PFCs and other chemicals around the Coakley landfill in an effort to prevent water contamination around the Superfund cleanup site.
The NH AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers-NH have endorsed my candidacy for the NH House of Representatives in Greenland and Newington. AFL-CIO NH President Glenn Brackett said that there will be a campaign to inform members of the candidates that the NH AFL-CIO is supporting including mail pieces, phone calls and literature distribution during the next few weeks.
The AFL-CIO is dedicated to the issues most important to union families, including jobs, healthcare and economic security.
The AFT- NH is the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers that has over a million members and represents more than 4,000 public and private sector employees, including teachers, pollice officers, support staff, higher education employees and city and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO that boasts membership of over 40,000 working men and women.
The Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster formed a subcommittee on September 14, to focus specifically on the Coakley landfill and the implications of the contamination and what can be done to deal with it.
The subcommittee was formed as concerns about toxins from the Superfund cleanup site contaminating water and area wells continues to grow.
Subcommittee Chair Mindi Messmer said, “The key role is to really get down to working with DES to come up with a plan for evaluating Coakley.”
DES project manager of the Coakley site, Drew Hoffman said the state plans to send out postcards to residents living east of the landfill who might not have connected to public water line that was installed in 1980s. He said DES will also continue to monitor for contaminants in private wells to the north of the landfill.
Hoffman said this is an area where we’ve put a lot of our efforts and concern, largely due to the cluster of private wells that are tapping the water to the north and drinking that water.
DES is working with the Coakley Landfill Group to test surface water from Berry Brooke and Little River near the landfill. He said DES will also be working with the town of Greenland to test private wells and the help analyze the test results.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Jim Murphy said the five year review of the Coakley landfill is almost complete and will release the findings at the end of the month. He said EPA officials are looking closely at contamination of groundwater outside the landfill by 1.4 dioxane and PFCs.
A public hearing was held this week on the Eversource plan to upgrade transmission lines from two existing substations in Madbury and Portsmouth. Currently, the section that runs through Newington, which utilizes existing rights of way, will affect parts of the residential and historic district with above ground transmission lines.
Susan Geiger, the attorney representing the town of Newington told a state Site Evaluation Committee that Newington is opposed to the current Eversource plan unless it buries the lines.
“Although Newington has historically supported large-scale utility projects, it cannot support this project as currently configured because an overhead transmission line will unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region, unreasonably adversely affect the aesthetics and historic sites and will not serve the public interest,” according to Geiger. She is an energy and telecommunications attorney with the law firm Orr & Reno of Concord and a former state public utilities commissioner.
According to an Eversource spokesman, the company is in negotiations with property owners in the area and expects to file an amendment that calls for burying the lines through much of the town, so the comments at the hearing were made for the current proposal.
Eversource spokesman Martin Murray said the company has rights-of-way for above ground lines and not for underground construction. However, he said he’s confident that the lines would be buried through most of Newington.
Geiger said that Newington supports Eversource’s plan to bury the lines, “conceptually,” but will wait to see the finer details of the changes once they are worked out before the town can make a determination on whether it supports the project.
While Eversource may now own the rights to an above ground transmission line, it behooves them to develop a plan to bury the lines and protect the interests of Newington residents, especially their property values and scenic beauty of the Great Bay region.
I want to commend the Greenland Selectmen for devoting a major portion of their August 8, meeting to hearing the concerns of residents who live close to the Coakley landfill. It has now been reported that elevated concentrations of perfluorochemicals have been found in non-residential groundwater monitoring well samples collected beyond the footprint of Coakley landfill. The next step will be to determine if water is affected as it moves outside of the landfill’s footprint, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s also reported that the 16 residential wells evaluated in Greenland and North Hampton met the state’s groundwater standards.
The Selectmen expressed their concern and stated that they will do everything they can to insure that our residents are safe and that this water situation will be given their full attention. A Sunday August 14, editorial by the Portsmouth Herald said “immediate action is needed and local, state and federal governments must do their job promptly.” The Herald said the solution is to extend public water to all residences with wells in which testing revealed the presence of PFCs.
Officials with both the state of New Hampshire and State Representative Tom Sherman, who heads the Governor’s Cancer Cluster Task Force said that everything about PFCs are new to us, and that testing is fussy. There are only a small number of labs who are fully capable of accurately measuring this contaminant and they are getting “slammed” with these requests. There is about a 6 week delay between submitting sample and receiving results. These contaminants have only recently been regulated so the testing processes are new and the EPA is asking labs to develop reliable and standard testing procedures.
I’m encouraged by our local official’s attention to this and their clear interest in protecting our residents. Testing is on-going and results are coming in. Federal, state and local officials are on top of this and I’m confident that plans for pure water will be developed and implemented.
As your state representative for Greenland and Newington, I will work hard on your behalf to help insure this matter is given top priority and that remedial actions will be taken.
The mayors of three New Hampshire towns are upset that the state of New Hampshire is raising municipal property taxes and are asking that every town and city in the state to join together against recent actions by the state.
When the state decreases its support of pensions and reduces its educational assistance which supports children who qualify for free and reduced lunch in our communities, local communities are forced to pick up the tab and therefore, raise property taxes.
Nashua Mayor Jim Dochess, Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley, and Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield have drafted a letter that says the state “is doing a disservice by imposing additional costs on the municipalities that are responsible for providing quality public services.” It suggests that the state adopt a long term plan that provides relief to the cities and towns that bear the burden of paying these costs.”
This is a major reason why I’m running for State Representative. When the state makes cuts to these services, the towns are forced to readjust budgets and either make cuts to vital services to cover for these reductions, or raise property taxes.
Whatever the town decides to do, it puts further strain on town budgets and taxpayers.
As a State Representative, I will fight to insure that when the state reduces spending, it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on our town budgets and our property tax payers.
New Hampshire revenues are $100 million ahead of projections according to the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services. This is good news for our state, but I’d like to dig a little deeper into what this means, and how important it is to produce accurate and reliable projections.
The House and Senate make budget and spending decisions based upon what they believe are well vetted revenue projections, but these become politically driven. When the majority party produces unrealistically low revenue numbers the budget becomes balanced at that low number.
According to State Senator Dan Feltes of Concord, if the NH Senate numbers were used and followed, we could have had more funds available to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, send more education aid back to our communities, increase aid to help strengthen our roads and fix our red-listed bridges, and potentially lower tuitions costs for New Hampshire students at our university and community colleges systems, which are among highest in the nation.
We could have done all of this, without raising taxes, and still had a strong surplus to put away in the Rainy Day fund according to Senator Feltes.
No economist, liberal or conservative, has said that the business tax cuts, in effect for such a short time, have led to these revenues. It’s simply not credible to now declare that the revenues are a direct result of the business tax cuts, he says.
Reform is needed, and politics should be removed from the revenue projection process as much as possible. It is time for more independent, unbiased approach to revenue forecasting in our budget process.
Senator Feltes recommends that we put in place a revenue estimator position within the non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant’s office. This position would not have direct communication with legislators, except at publicly-notices hearings. They would be free of political influence to offer the most accurate revenue projections for Legislature to consider.
Starving the government through politically motivated budget decisions is not a sound way to operate.
Preliminary test results of eight wells show elevated levels of PFC’s at the Coakley landfill. The following is an article by Jeff McMenemy of Seacoast Online, published June 30, 2016.
The wells were tested after concerns were raised by area residents that exposure from contaminants at the landfill – and several other potential sites – could be triggering a Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster.
Jim Martin, public information officer for the state Department of Environmental Services, said the combined test results for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) ranged anywhere from 71 parts per trillion to 1,108 parts per trillion.
PFOS and PFOA are a class of chemicals known as perfluorochemicals or PFCs. The Environmental Protection Agency recently set its permanent health advisory for PFOS and PFOA at 70 parts per trillion.
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has stated that studies on people exposed to PFCs showed certain PFCs may be associated with developmental delays in the fetus and child, decreased fertility, increased cholesterol, changes to the immune system and prostate, kidney and testicular cancer.
Letters went out Thursday to people living near the now closed landfill in North Hampton and Greenland stating DES would be setting up appointments so their private wells can be tested for the contaminants, Martin said late Thursday afternoon. He did not have an exact number of how many private wells would be tested, but said it’s likely many will be wells previously tested before for other contaminants found at or around Coakley landfill.
“Previous testing has been done on some of these properties,” Martin said.
DES will only provide bottled water to homeowners whose water tests show levels of PFCs above the state’s Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard of 70 parts per trillion (ppt), Martin said. “We wouldn’t do that as a preventative measure,” he said.
DES is hoping to have the sampling done in the “next couple of weeks,” Martin said, and the tests will be analyzed by the EPA’s regional lab in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Several Seacoast children have died from rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS, one of the two rare types of childhood cancer the state determined was part of a Seacoast cancer cluster.
The state looked at the number of RMS cases in Rye, New Castle, Greenland, North Hampton and Portsmouth, according to a report it released. While investigating the RMS cases, the state also identified a second cancer cluster involving a rare pediatric cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB).
Tests for PFCs were done at the monitoring wells in response to a request by state Rep. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, and the town of North Hampton. The tested wells were previously installed to monitor the potential impact of the landfill on groundwater, according to a joint press release from DES and EPA.
The test results are “still under third party review for quality assurance,” according to the release.
The Coakley Landfill Group, an organization of municipalities that brought trash to the landfill, will also be required to do tests farther from the landfill site, according to Jim Murphy, who works on EPA Superfund sites. Murphy said the monitoring wells that were tested are “almost on the fence line” of the landfill.
Sherman called the plan to test private wells and monitoring wells outside the landfill “absolutely the most prudent step to take.”
“They need to test until they get to a point where they’re negative,” Sherman, a doctor, said about future tests for PFCs. “They also need to do it as quickly as possible.”
He raised the question if the nearby private wells were “drawing off a plume” and in turn drawing the plume (containing PFCs) closer to their wells. “What is the extent of the plume and what is the continued risk of using the wells,” Sherman said.
Depending on what further tests show, part of the remediation for the contamination could be “shutting down wells that are drawing it.”
“Number one, I’m glad they did the tests,” Sherman said. “The next step is to figure out what it means. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
He also suggested state and federal officials should discuss testing surface water for “PFCs that drain out of Coakley.” “I think it’s prudent to at least raise the question,” Sherman said.
The investigation into the pediatric cancer cluster shows why “it’s so important that we understand the impact of industry on our environment,” Sherman said.
“It’s a direct health impact,” he added. “We have to make sure we don’t let this happen in the future.”
At the first meeting of the Governor's Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation, members were told that the state moved into the third step of its four step investigation into the cluster "because we had a significantly higher number of cases of RMS and PPB," according to Whitney Hammond, DHHS's program coordinator for its comprehensive cancer control program.
The third step is the development of a questionnaire that will get more information about children who are part of the Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster. If this questionnaire reveals a link between the cancers and a common environmental exposure it would trigger a "case control study." Hammond said the state has never done such a study and that they are very lengthy and resource intensive.
State Representative Tom Sherman D-Rye, suggested that the group make the task force meetings regular and public so that the whole process becomes a little more efficient.
State Representative Renny Cushing D-Hampton, said the task force should do an assessment of the policy limitations that might need to be addressed.
The first meeting was held June 22. The next scheduled meeting is July 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., with a location to be determined.
The Governor's Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigation will have its initial meeting June 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Families First Health & Support Center at 100 Campus Drive in Portsmouth.
According to the Governor's office, the task force brings together state and federal agencies involved in the pediatric cancer cluster, along with local community members to "coordinate a consistent strategy related to the health and environmental concerns: about the cluster.
Task force members include state Reps. Tom Sherman and David Borden, along with state Sens. Martha Fuller Clark and Nancy Stiles.
Several Seacoast children have died from rhabdomyosarcoma, RMS, one of the two rare types of childhood cancer the state determined was part of a small Seacoast cancer cluster. The state looked at the number of RMS cases in Rye, New Castle, Greenland, North Hampton and Portsmouth, according to a report it recently released.
The task force will also review progress being made by state agencies and keep the community informed about the progress of the task force.
Two public meetings have been held to present draft findings of the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission. The Commission was charged with studying storm surges, sea-level rise and extreme precipitation. Greenland and Newington are two of the communities in New Hampshire’s coastal zone and one-fourth of the state’s population lives in the 17 cities and towns included in this report.
The 100 plus page report shows a consensus that sea levels have been rising for decades, and eventually salt marches will start to disappear. While the entire issue of climate change was clearly beyond the scope of this report, it did provide recommendations based upon the best available science in order to protect coastal property and infrastructure.
The entire report can be viewed at the Commission’s website: http://nhcrhc.stormsmart.org/draft-for-comment/
I attended the May 26 meeting in Greenland and felt that not only is this report loaded with solid information and documentation, but it also shows us what steps to take so that our coastal communities maintain their natural habitats and property values, and businesses can help insure their future viability. There are dozens of recommendations, but five were of particular interest to me and outlined steps that communities can immediately adopt easily and at no cost.
• Secure new and allocate existing funding sources for state agencies and municipalities to conduct vulnerability assessments of assets at appropriate scales and to implement adaptation strategies.
• Use appropriate and available mechanisms including but not limited to incentives and market-based tools to fund climate adaptation strategies.
• Implement regulatory standards and/or enact enabling legislation to ensure that the best available climate science and flood risk information are used for the siting and design of new, reconstructed, and rehabilitate state-funded structure and facilities, municipal structures and facilities, and private structures.
• Develop plans and implement strategies to prepare and adapt recreational resources based on best available climate science.
• Protect land that allows coastal habitats and populations to adapt to changing conditions and also provides ecosystem services that protect people, structures, and facilities.
The report itself was the result of a Senate bill sponsored by David Watters (D) Dover and Senator Nancy Stiles (R) of Hampton. Public comments are being heard and the final draft will be available later this year.
To protect the habitat, economy and property value of our 17 coastal communities, we need to understand the implications of a rising sea level and this report helps. I will work with our community and legislative leaders to help understand this report and lead in the protection of our New Hampshire resources.
Just 15 years ago New Hampshire was enjoying a growth spurt that dramatically improved our business development climate. Today, we face slow growth with many employers looking for the next generation of highly trained, skilled workers. This next election is about examining how we can recapture that strong economy, manage population growth and keep our young people here.
Kate Luczko, Executive Director of Stay, Work, Play, NH acknowledges there is a challenge, but believes that there are a lot of opportunities to do big things right here in New Hampshire, and says that “by staying in New Hampshire, you are able to be a big fish in a small pond.” She is speaking to our young people and those who’ve left, but might considering returning.
Matt Cookson, Executive Director of the NH High Tech Council says there are a lot of help wanted signs around and that well-paying jobs are going unfilled. Low taxes, raising a family and our natural resources should be marketed aggressively outside of NH to brand our state as a destination. An option he feels is for the state legislature to get behind a social media marketing plan and “put out that digital help wanted sign.”
In addition to more aggressive marketing of NH’s advantages, there is a growing call to take a comprehensive look at state government regulations so our government is a more solid and reliable partner in helping us all accomplish our goals. Clearly, this requires buy-in from all of our elected officials and most likely a thorough study of our current regulations by a non-partisan group made up of business, education, elected officials at all levels.
I’m particularly interested in a review of operating practices and regulations, because as a selectman, businessman and non-profit fundraiser I’ve seen how decisions in Concord can have unintended consequences on our lives.
It’s true that New Hampshire’s economy has grown, and unemployment levels are at all time lows; however those who take credit for these numbers including politicians and interest groups should do so with caution. The nation’s economy picked up significantly after the Great Recession and New Hampshire, like most states in the country benefitted.
American’s for Prosperity claim New Hampshire’s results are due directly to cutting the business taxes. Director Greg Moore makes this point in a Your Turn piece in the May 2, 2016 Union Leader. No doubt cutting business taxes has some stimulus effect, but I’m more interested in the case made by Jim Roche, President of the Business and Industry Association of NH, for focusing on workforce development and sustainable economic growth.
Roche says “when employers are considering expanding operations, high on their list of requirements is a workplace-ready, available pool of skilled workers. If New Hampshire falls behind in its commitment to workforce development, we create barriers for employment growth.” Roche made his comments in an April edition of the NHBR.
Roche and the BIA believe workforce development is essential for continuing our economic expansion and says fewer people are entering the workforce with all the skills required to perform effectively, whether it’s routine office tasks or those tasks requiring technical proficiency.
Workforce development affects manufacturing, health care, professional and financial services, high technology and more and Roche claims that “creating and sustaining and retaining a viable workforce that can support current and future business and industry needs is critical to ensuring economic prosperity for all.
Roche and Moore certainly have different views on growing the economy and maintaining full employment, however the BIA puts forward a thought out plan to support educational, results oriented programs that will get the attention of businesses and encourage expansion here. We must demonstrate to New England and the United States that we are committed to providing a workforce that business and industry covets.
Seacoastonline reported on April 28, 2016 that the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to test for PFC’s in the water around the Coakley Landfill in Rye and North Hampton.
The news was delivered to the North Hampton Select Board by Governor Maggie Hassan after the North Hampton Select Board wrote to the EPA earlier this week asking it to test for a whole range of PFCs.
While the EPA has agreed to test the water at the Coakley Landfill, it was requested that the EPA expand the testing area to include the two watersheds near the landfill and expand to test private wells in the area.
A group of officials including state lawmakers will be pushing the EPA to expand the testing area according to State Rep. David Borden, D-New Castle.
This is an important development regarding the Coakley Landfill and for everyone affected by the water concerns at the former Pease Air Force Base and Seabrook Station.
I stand with Representative Borden and other elected officials to expand the test area and provide leadership in ensuring our water is safe and the possible contamination from these sites is contained.
A Greenland town meeting was held on April 14, organized by the Coakley Landfill Group, the EPA and the NH Dept. of Environmental Services. A summation of the EPA's position appears below, and is taken from their official site.
The Q & A provided the most interesting insight into how residential and commercial development stresses the ground water system, and may be affecting how the contaminants from Coakley spread. In my opinion, many attendees gained an understanding about how both residential and business water uses can affect the spread of contaminants.
The EPA did say there are ways to prevent the "flume" (surface groundwater that may contain contaminants) from spreading, and I thought this prompted one of the most valuable parts of the meeting because it helped local residents understand how important it is to weigh in on planning board review processes that can directly affect the safety of our drinking water and our quality of life. Greenland town officials, selectmen and planning board members attended and do appreciate and welcome everyone’s input while making these important decisions for Greenland.
There was a lot of information about water testing, contaminants and toxicity, and very detailed technical information is available through the NH DES and EPA. While we do live next to a Superfund site, there still are decisions and plans that we can make that help insure water quality for today and tomorrow.
Here's the EPA's overview of the Coakley Landfill site.
EPA’s Involvement at this Site
The privately owned landfill accepted municipal and industrial wastes from the Portsmouth area between 1972 and 1982. Incinerator residue was also accepted from the incineration recovery plant for a refuse-to-energy project between 1982 and 1985. The primary source of contamination is the landfill. VOCs and metals are the primary contaminants. On- and off-site surface water and groundwater are contaminated. The site is located on a groundwater/surface water divide, and residential wells to the south, southeast and northeast are contaminated with low levels of VOCs. Residential and commercial areas surround the site.
Since EPA issued its 1990 source control cleanup plan and its 1994 groundwater cleanup plan for the site, the acceptable level of arsenic in drinking water has changed to one fifth of what it was. EPA changed the arsenic standard for the site to match this new level. Since these cleanup plans were issued, the State of New Hampshire has updated its environmental regulations. For the source control cleanup plan, the chemical tetrahydrofuran has been added as an additional chemical of concern because groundwater monitoring detected this contaminant at levels exceeding state standards. In 2008, the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) put in place groundwater restrictions and will continue to monitor groundwater quality at the site yearly until cleanup levels for all contaminants are met.
The site is being addressed through state, federal and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. The provision of an alternate drinking water supply has reduced the potential for exposure to groundwater contamination. Since completion of the landfill cap in 1998, groundwater flows away from nearby residences and contamination levels are slowly declining.
EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The 2011 five-year review indicated more analysis was needed to determine whether the groundwater monitoring zone should be expanded and more restrictions put in place. An April 2013 evaluation indicated that some wells should be sampled again for 1,4-dioxane, sampling could stop in other wells and the groundwater monitoring zone should be expanded.
Overall, the five-year review concluded that the remedy at the site protects human health and the environment in the short term. Long-term protectiveness has also been achieved at the source based on continued maintenance of the landfill cap, long-term monitoring and land use restrictions. Groundwater levels will also be protective when cleanup levels for all contaminants of concern are met and restrictions on the use of groundwater can be removed.
Last updated on April 15, 2016
A top priority of elected officials should be how budget decisions in Concord affect economic development.
Respected demographic analyst Peter Francese of Exeter, NH wrote in the Foster’s Daily Democrat that we have a “stagnant or declining workforce combined with a very fast growing elderly population,” and NH should “increase the skills and earning power of our state’s young adults,” which will spur economic growth “through rising personal income and household wealth.”
Francese makes the case that higher educational achievement means higher incomes and that three-quarters of NH community college graduates find full-time employment in the state. While Francese focuses on the benefits of supporting our community college system, he also reports that average debt of three-quarters of our four year graduates was $32,000, the highest in the nation. “As a society we should be very troubled by that because those young graduates will face big mortgage payments, but with no house to show for it and fewer prospects for buying one,” according to Francese.
National statistics show that NH is at the bottom of all 50 states in its support of public higher education, and Francese says, “perhaps we ought to spend more time thinking about the consequences of spending so little on helping our young people get the skills they need.”
From my experience in NH as a business leader, small business owner and an elected official, I’ve heard from both small and large high-tech companies that finding and keeping highly trained NH young people is a bigger impediment to growing a business than the current corporate tax rates.
There are unforeseen and potentially damaging consequences to changing the tax codes, and could possibly accelerate the rate at which NH young people leave our state to find affordable education, housing and livable wages.
Economic experts and politicians need to take a little more time to fully vet the consequences of changing the tax rates on corporations. Lowering corporate taxes could stimulate an economic uptick or it could “blow a hole” in the revenue stream that makes up one of the largest sources of NH revenue.
Prioritizing higher education funding is an investment in NH’s people and economic future, and during budget negotiations, we should encourage our elected officials to do what is in the economic best interest of all of us.
In her annual State of the State message the Governor said we need to increase the education and training of men and women. These initiatives are critical for New Hampshire’s continued and future growth because expanding businesses need a quality, educated work force.
Most employers and public policy experts tell us that a growing, qualified workforce is just as important as tax considerations and incentives when businesses consider expansion. The Seacoast and Portsmouth benefit from a diverse and educated work force and that’s a major reason why business expands here.
New Hampshire boasts the lowest unemployment rate in 15 years, a budget surplus for 2015, strong revenues for 2016, and a boost in the "rainy day" fund. But for those still struggling to find meaningful, sustained employment the 3.1 percent unemployment number brings little comfort.
To create meaningful and fulfilling jobs and move our economy forward, expanded training and educational opportunities are critical.
While the low unemployment number is a good thing it may actually slow some economic development opportunities. A focus on quality, affordable education is an investment in our citizens and a powerful incentive for enhancing New Hampshire's economic base.
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