It’s Politics over Science at Congressional Hearing on Great Bay

Peter Wellenberger

On Monday, June 4, Congressman Darrell Issa of California and Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire are hosting a hearing in Exeter entitled “EPA Overreach and the Impact on New Hampshire Communities.”

Based on the title of the hearing, it appears Congressmen Issa and Guinta already have made up their minds, before the hearing even begins, that EPA is somehow ‘overreaching’ in its approach to reducing nitrogen pollution in the estuary. This is simply not the case. EPA is proceeding on sound science and doing exactly what is required to restore and protect the estuary before it’s too late. At a time when we need to be solving the serious pollution problems threatening the Great Bay estuary, it’s disturbing to see such a biased and overtly political response.

If you care about the future of the Great Bay estuary, I urge you to attend this politically motivated hearing. But don’t expect to be allowed to speak – only invited guests are given that right.  Would it surprise you to learn that four of the five invited speakers represent the Municipal Coalition, the very group of communities – Exeter, Newmarket, Dover, Rochester and Portsmouth – that have brought suit against the NH Department of Environmental Services and are doing everything in their power to delay action on cleaning up the Bay?  The sole person testifying on behalf of the EPA will be Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding.  Not exactly a balanced panel.

In a prepared statement issued on Thursday, Rep. Guinta said that he’s concerned with “over-zealous regulation.”  We cannot escape the need for immediate action.  Further delays will only lead to more pollution, further degradation, and higher costs. The science continues to tell us that the health of the estuary is in decline and asking communities clean up their act is hardly over-zealous regulation.

I urge you to join at the hearing and silently voice your support for EPA and the need to take immediate action for a clean and healthy estuary. The hearing will be held at the Exeter Town Offices, 10 Front Street, beginning at 9 am. If you would like more information, please contact me to learn how you can help save Great Bay.

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