SB 129 passed the House yesterday by a close vote (190-181)
It was one of the closest votes yesterday, June 3, 2021, to overturn a committee recommendation. There was some talk of having a reconsideration vote today but the House just adjourned and that did not happen. The only thing to be done now is to ask the Governor to veto SB 129 but because we heard Gov. Sununu is in favor of development over endangered and threatened species we don’t think that will happen. But if you want to email or call his office asking him to veto SB 129 please do. It never hurts to try. Thanks, everyone for your efforts in trying to defeat this bill that will harm NH’s wildlife.
Click here to learn how to defeat SB 129. https://conta.cc/3yNBKGO Please do this soon. The NH House will be in session June 3, so please do this now. Thanks!
SB 129 passed the Senate. It will now go to the House, so we need you to contact your Representatives soon to ask them to OPPOSE SB 129. Find out who represents you here – NH General Court (state.nh.us) You will have more than one Representative.
To contact the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee This is the House Committee that will hear SB 129. As soon as we know when the hearing is we will post it here. Learn More Below –
SB 129 IMPORTANT FACT SHEET – https://voicesofwildlifeinnh.org/wp-content/uploads/Fact-Sheet-SB-129-2-21-21.pdf
To read the bill go here – http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2021&id=1073&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
We can also contact NH Fish and Game. See this handout –
WHAT: This campaign is to Save NH’s Threatened & Endangered Species (T&E) from threats of development. The campaign is based on keeping strong our NH Endangered Species Conservation Act (RSA 212-A, ESCA) and making it stronger, not weaker. The goal is to stop the State from weakening the ESCA law and the rules/regulations that guide the actions of both the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the NH Fish & Game Department (F&G).
WHY this action now: Developers have contacted officials high up in the NH government to complain because their projects are caught up in a bottleneck at NH Fish & Game Department that reviews the projects for impacts that harm threatened & endangered wildlife. The Department of Environmental Services is supporting SB 129 with the hope that it will relieve the bottleneck, but the fact is that the backup of cases is caused by the insufficient number of staff at Fish & Game unable to quickly handle a higher number of required reviews. In the background, the Attorney General’s Office is advocating for SB 129 because it would legalize “minimum” harm, which is the true goal of SB 129. We cannot let that happen.
Talking Points in Opposition to SB 129:
- SB 129 legalizes harm to threatened & endangered wildlife species that is prohibited by existing law.
- SB 129 would let agencies like the Department of Environmental Services authorize development projects that are designed to cause some degree of harm to threatened & endangered wildlife species.
- SB 129 would let developers pay into a fund designated in SB 129 that gives money to the Fish & Game Department, but there’s no requirement that the money goes to help the endangered species. For making mitigation payments, the developers would receive permission to construct their projects that harm threatened & endangered species. Harm certainly would occur, but mitigation for the harm is not certain.
- SB 129 is in conflict with section 7 of the Endangered Species Conservation Act that prohibits harming in all of its forms including capturing, disturbing, harassing, and all acts that interfere with threatened & endangered animals. The prohibition in current law that nobody can harm threatened or endangered wildlife either directly or indirectly must continue and be enforced.
- SB 129 violates the purpose of the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act which is to help maintain and enhance the populations of threatened & endangered species.
- Species in jeopardy like the Blanding’s turtle, the spotted turtle, the northern long-eared bat, and the common nighthawk would be further jeopardized by development projects if SB 129 passes.
- NH’s threatened & endangered species cannot endure more harm that puts them at greater risk of being extirpated from NH. So-called “minimum harm” is harmful and defeats the purpose of the Endangered Species Conservation Act to help the species. The health of T&E populations must not be for sale to developers.
- SB 129 is contrary to what the NH Supreme Court advised. The court correctly suggested that projects can be designed to avoid all harmful impacts to threatened & endangered species if the results of proper wildlife studies are utilized.
- If projects cannot be designed to avoid harm, then they must not be given permits and developed, because harmful projects put NH’s threatened & endangered species in further jeopardy.
- SB 129 creates a conflict with the Federal Endangered Species Act for 11 species that are not only listed in NH but also federally. These 11 species are in serious peril. SB 129 would legalize harm to them even though harm is prohibited by the Federal ESA.
- The Endangered Species Conservation Act should instead be strengthened. The ESCA should be improved by the inclusion of the state’s Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) so that the WAP can serve as the official blueprint to be followed by all state agencies to help with the recovery of threatened & endangered species to a healthy status. SB 129 does the opposite.
Sample Email: Subject line: Oppose SB 129 —
Dear Honorable _____________________________,
Do not weaken the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act
As your constituent, I want to let you know why I want SB 129 to fail and to ask you to vote against it. SB 129 will not do anything to resolve the bottleneck of projects that are backed up for review at NH Fish & Game Department, because only hiring more staff at Fish & Game will solve that problem. However, SB 129 would weaken the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act and that is short-sighted because it will cause unimaginable harm to already-fragile wildlife species.
INCLUDE YOUR OWN REASONS AND SOME OF THE TALKING POINTS ABOVE
I hope that you will oppose SB 129 for all of these reasons, but especially, to keep our NH Endangered Species Conservation Act strong.
YOUR FULL ADDRESS
Contact: Suzanne Fournier at firstname.lastname@example.org (603) 673-7389
Thank you for Taking Action!