CONCORD, NH – How will the current environmental protections continue to safeguard our public health with the dramatic shift in the administration in the White House and the State House? Energy saving and pollution reduction programs, once a unifying non-partisan issue, are now a cause for great division and political strife. Over 100 people attended a round-table discussion with a number of local experts provided a greater understanding of how the programs work and their wide ranging benefits. Speakers included Representative Bill Baber of Dover, Taylor Caswell of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, Jack Ruderman of Revision Energy and Rebecca Whitley of Mom’s Clean Air Force. Sam Evans-Brown of New Hampshire Public Radio acted as the moderator.
The dramatic two-year presidential campaign’s final conclusion has many people questioning the future of the country’s policies concerning many issues from foreign relations, the economy, healthcare, marriage equality, abortion, job growth, taxes and the environment. Over the course of the election, voters polled consistently in the Granite State and across the country said that they support action on climate change and renewable energy. New Hampshire participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a nine state market driven carbon pollution reduction program that promotes investments in energy efficiency, weatherization, building retrofits and renewable energy. RGGI is the model for the recently introduced national carbon reduction program called the Clean Power Plan. Both President-Elect Trump and Governor-Elect Sununu have stated differences with the current administrations’ support for the market based energy saving programs aimed to create climate solutions. Candidate Trump went so far as calling climate change a “hoax by the Chinese” in a tweet.
The post-election round-table discussion was held at the Concord Public Library in Concord, NH and hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environment America, Mom’s Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation and New Hampshire Sierra Club. The host organizations highlighted opportunities to reach out to the new administrations in the State House to demonstrate support for energy saving programs, offering to arrange meetings, monitor legislation and creating meaningful actions. The round-table was broadcasted live on Facebook and comments posted on Twitter that can be seen @NHSierraClub.
Quotes and Brief Biographies of Speakers
NH State Representative Bill Baber:
“We are about to experience a governmental change with greater unknowns following any previous election. This is especially true for the environment, energy, and our economy.”
Bill Baber is an outgoing member of the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee where he acted as the Democratic ranking member. He is a Vietnam era veteran with a rich academic and employment background ranging from film making to computer science.
“The economics of climate change will continue, regardless of what a government may or may not do. Every time a business or a municipality finances a project through our Clean Energy Fund, they cut their energy costs, and that reduces carbon emissions. It’s a basic operational and financial decision that increasingly makes the most sense for New Hampshire organizations.”
Taylor Caswell is the executive director of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, whose mission is to facilitate community economic development across the state with financial and technical resources. CDFA’s total assets under management each year exceed $30 million, and include the New Hampshire Clean Energy Fund which provides resources for energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy integration for organizations statewide.
“We cannot allow President-Elect Trump, or our New Hampshire elected officials, to wage a war on public health. The progress on climate action over the last 8 years is important for our children’s health and for future generations. We need to organize and become the checks and balances to protect our children against any attack on their health and well-being.”
Becky Whitley is the field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force in New Hampshire. She received a B.B.A. from George Washington University and a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Becky has always been committed to social justice and children’s health. She comes to Moms Clean Air Force after many years of practicing public interest law, representing adults and children on important disability rights issues and participating in policy advocacy. Becky works to mobilize parents in New Hampshire and advocates for children’s right to clean air and a healthy climate.
Jack Ruderman is the Director of Community Solar Initiatives for Revision Energy, an ambitious effort to solarize municipalities, nonprofits, and schools throughout the Granite State, as well as organize the development of community solar farms. Jack previously served as Director of the Sustainable Energy Division of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, where he was responsible for administering the state’s Renewable Energy Fund. He also served 12 years at the New Hampshire Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning. He holds a B.A. in political science from Tufts University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
Moderator Sam Evans-Brown
Sam Evans-Brown is a reporter and host on New Hampshire Public Radio. Covering the environmental beat for NHPR, Sam’s reporting won him several awards, including two Edward R. Murrow awards, and he was also a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. Last year, Sam helped launch a new show called Outside/In to further explore his environmental interests. Find the show http://outsideinradio.org/ , on Twitter and Face Book @OutsideInRadio.