A recent letter to the Sentinel (“Give Sununu credit on the environment,” Kristi Owens, Feb. 26) defended Gov. Sununu’s environmental record, claiming his critics were not being “truthful about his record.” I disagree: The governor’s leadership on climate issues is, truthfully, pretty dismal.
The writer points out that the governor renewed New Hampshire’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. What the writer doesn’t say is that Gov. Sununu is the only governor in New England who has not joined the more robust U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The writer also points to Gov. Sununu’s advocacy of offshore wind turbines — which will take up to a decade to develop — as evidence of his commitment to renewable energy. What she doesn’t say is that the governor has vetoed really significant legislation that would support the immediate growth of renewable energy sources. One example is 2019’s House Bill 1218, a bipartisan legislation to expand net metering in New Hampshire. The bill represented a monumental amount of work from legislators, municipalities and businesses to encourage investment in renewable energy. The bill had been modified in response to Gov. Sununu’s prior vetoes and he indicated that he would support it. Imagine everyone’s shock when our supposedly “moderate” governor vetoed the legislation.
Finally, the writer cites the governor’s support for electric car charging stations in New Hampshire as evidence of his commitment to “get gas guzzling cars off the road.” Electric cars are hardly the answer. The real answer is to support public transit and high-speed rail, something the governor has failed to do.
For low-income residents in Cheshire County, any problems with their car can have catastrophic consequences for their jobs and earnings. One recent study indicated that every dollar invested in public transit puts four dollars back into the economy. Yet New Hampshire ranks 44th among the states in per capita spending on public transit. If Gov. Sununu is truly concerned about getting “gas guzzling cars off the road,” he will offer leadership in developing a strong public transit system and bringing high speed rail to New Hampshire. To date, he has offered neither.
The truth is that our state needs strong leadership as we face the realities of the climate emergency. Gov. Sununu has not provided that leadership. Voters need to keep that in mind in this election year.
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