- Holly Shulman
Outside Now-Shuttered Springfield Biomass Plant, Community Leaders Discussed How Sununu’s Special In
Springfield, N.H. - Today, gathered outside the now-shuttered biomass plant in Springfield, local elected officials and community leaders discussed how Governor Chris Sununu’s prioritization of special interests, including his veto of H.B. 183, has devastated local workers and the economy. In this past legislative session Chris Sununu vetoed a bipartisan bill, H.B. 183, that would have shored up New Hampshire’s biomass industry. Governor Sununu’s veto came after an intense lobbying effort led by the New England Ratepayers Association - a fossil fuel special interest that his brother, Michael Sununu, works for. “Sununu’s veto made it abundantly clear where his priorities lie – not with laid off workers, or promoting local, renewable energy sources – but with safeguarding large, corporate special interests, like those represented by the so-called New England Ratepayers Association – a secretive, corporate group that lobbied to close these plants and that employs the Governor’s brother, Michael Sununu,” said Representative Lee Oxenham who represents Springfield and surrounding communities. After Sununu’s veto, two New Hampshire biomass plants have closed - in Springfield and Whitefield - while others have remained under threat. “From up in his corner office in Concord, Governor Sununu’s veto of House Bill 183 set off a chain reaction of economic upheaval in our state as two biomass plants closed and more struggle to stay afloat,” said Representative Brian Sullivan who represents Springfield and surrounding communities. “I wish the governor had spent more time in towns like Springfield, talking to the dedicated biomass workers and learning about the industry, and less time pushing the agenda of his brother and his special interest donors.” A Plymouth State study found that the New Hampshire biomass industry directly and indirectly supports 932 jobs in the state and generates more than $254 million in economic output. “Our governor does not understand the value of the timber industry and the role of these plants in the rural communities and the economy in the northern and western parts of the state. He does not see the loss of taxes, the loss of jobs for the loggers, the equipment suppliers, the trucking industry, and all the small businesses that support these people,” said Representative Linda Tanner who represents Springfield and surrounding communities. “We in the legislature who live in these rural areas know the economic costs.” "This bill was a bipartisan bill, and it was bipartisan for a reason. It speaks to the long, traditional, responsible history of our timber industry here in New Hampshire. And to put the special interest of your family's fortune above those in our rural community is a betrayal of trust to our community," said Jenn Alford-Teaster, a local community activist. You can find pictures and video clips of today’s press conference here. Additional pictures are available by emailing email@example.com or calling (603) 715-4321.
Chris Sununu Vetoed A Bill That Helps Support New Hampshire’s Biomass Industry and Its Jobs. According to the Union Leader, “Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have required electric utilities to buy power from New Hampshire’s six biomass power plants. The bill aimed to deliver three years of subsidies for six of the wood-burning plants...The group of Republican and Democratic legislators who had supported the bill said they would work to override the veto.” [Union Leader, 8/3/19] Sununu’s Brother Works for an Organization That Lobbied Chris Sununu to Oppose Biomass Veto. According to the Caledonian Record, “On Friday, Sununu, whose brother, Michael Sununu, has consulted with the main group opposing bills to support biomass, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), which in a petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 2018 biomass bill is employing the same law firm used by Eversource Energy, vetoed House Bill 183. [Caledonian Record, 8/6/19] As Many As 932 Jobs Could Be Lost Because Of Sununu’s Veto. A Plymouth State study found that New Hampshire’s six biomass plants generate up to 932 jobs, directly at the plants and indirectly through repairmen, loggers, and more. [New Hampshire Business Review, 10/24/19] The End of The Biomass Industry Could Could Result In $254.5 million In Statewide Economic Losses. A Plymouth State study found that if all six biomass plants shut down as predicted as a result of Chris Sununu’s veto, New Hampshire could face $254.5 million in statewide economic losses. [New Hampshire Business Review, 10/24/19]