Democratic state lawmakers say they’ll push for renewable energy development as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.
State senator and gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes addressed the issue during a virtual Earth Day town hall Wednesday.
“The jobs of tomorrow are in clean energy, so a relief measure and relief packages as we move forward need to involve clean energy,” Feltes says.
Feltes also says the state should consider the proposed Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline as a potential short-term way to reduce affected families’ energy bills.
Some environmental advocates have criticized Feltes and other state senators for supporting the project. A Feltes spokesperson says his support is preliminary, pending Public Utilities Commission review of the project.
The other Democratic candidate for governor, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, opposes the pipeline and was endorsed by the New Hampshire Sierra Club Wednesday.
At a separate Earth Day roundtable with New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators, environmental advocates said the response to coronavirus shows how the world can respond to climate change.
Senator Maggie Hassan noted the relatively small drop in pollution among other effects of the pandemic. She says those benefits could continue through larger policy changes during recovery from the virus.
“Part of our job is letting people see that these things can work and can boost not only our environmental quality but our economic growth as well,” Hassan says.
She and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen say getting there will require change at the Environmental Protection Agency, which under President Donald Trump has rolled back dozens of regulations.
Those have included mercury and vehicle exhaust rules during the coronavirus pandemic — which, research suggests, has a higher death toll in areas with higher levels of air pollution.