This was written by Representative Marjorie Shepardson (NH Cheshire District 10):
When I was growing up our family spent two weeks each summer camping in the White Mountains, enjoying hikes and swimming in the streams. I looked forward to those times and they instilled in me a love of the outdoors. Later I moved to NH with my husband and two children, and we continued the outdoor tradition. I want future generations to have the same opportunity that we have had to hike in clean mountain air and swim in clean water.
Many of us have learned that we can’t take a clean environment for granted these days. We participate in river clean-ups, carpool to reduce the use of fossil fuels, weatherize our homes to reduce our heating needs, and even get scrubbers put on a coal plant.
As a nation we’ve passed laws to clean up our air, water and ground. One successful example that directly affected NH was the reduction of acid rain, something that was ruining our forests and waterways. We are currently trying to curb carbon emissions from power plants.
I’m sure we’ll hear that it will ruin the economy and raise our electric rates to astronomical heights. After all, that’s what we’ve heard many times before – when sulfur dioxide, asbestos, and CFC’s (in car air conditioners) were regulated, each time there were inflated predictions of what it would cost the consumer. The predictions were wrong. Now it’s carbon emissions from power plants.
Don’t be surprised if you start to hear how much this will hurt the consumers. We are fighting to improve the air quality for ourselves and for future generations. We are trying to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and halt the progression of climate change. These are big goals and they will take a sustained effort by many people if we are going to see big results. I am encouraged by past actions that have made a difference.
Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began in 1970 the U.S. population has grown 52% and our energy consumption is up 45% but emissions of 6 common pollutants, regulated by the EPA, are down 68%. Imagine what our country would look like if we had done nothing? So stay informed and stay active. Let me or your local legislator know how you feel about environmental issues here in NH. Let our senators and representatives in Washington hear from you on national issues. Together we can make a difference!
Marjorie Shepardson is a New Hampshire State Representative from Marlborough (Cheshire District 10). She is chair of the Energy Committee Marlborough Conservation Commission and serves on the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee.