I am a master’s student studying environmental advocacy at Antioch University New England, who has been paying attention to New Hampshire climate change legislation.

Recently, I have studied Senate Bill 71, a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Sherman on Jan. 6, 2021, whose primary aim was to establish a commission to develop science-based emissions reduction goals for the state of New Hampshire. Honestly, this bill would have never been truly effective in taking any real action on climate change because a commission has no statutory authority. However, this bill was perhaps the most likely, of all similarly introduced climate change legislation, to gain crucial bipartisan support.

On Jan. 26, Rep. Kat McGhee gave testimony that she had learned from the Department of Environmental Services that our state had been on a trajectory of lowering our emissions, but without immediate policy changes, would flatline all progress.

On March 11, Sen. Sherman was urged to table (i.e. effectively killing) SB 71 by original supporters from the Nature Conservancy, the League of Conservation Voters and the Union of Concerned Scientists. These climate-action champions believed that the commission was being made unworkable because the Committee of Energy and Natural Resources, with prompting from Sen. Bob Giuda, amended the original bill to include additional representation from unnecessary special interest groups and duties considering the scope, timeline and intent.

All of our neighboring states are leaving New Hampshire in the dust in taking tangible and meaningful action to address climate change. Also, as a young person and avid nature lover, I am concerned with the conservation of biodiversity. Additionally, with my past work as a school garden coordinator, who enjoyed making maple syrup with students (a pastime that will disappear as our state is projected to feel more like South Carolina), I struggle with living in a state whose leadership exhibits such blatant negligence in the face of existential threat.

Fellow readers, in the spirit of Earth Day, for the love of all life, and in the spirit of preserving the natural beauty and resources that New Hampshire is known for, we must rally all our friends, family and peers in actively supporting the election of only representatives who take climate change seriously.

Meanwhile, I ask, Gov. Sununu: What are you doing to encourage the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, to reach across the aisle and create bipartisan legislation for a bipartisan problem of epic proportions?

Respectfully,

CAITLYN HATZELL

Peterborough