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Last November, Timberwolf Logging of Littleton, N.H., logged a parcel in Rumney, N.H., owned by the French Family Exempt Trust. The sale was a seed tree cut, which was accomplished with whole-tree harvesting, to encourage fresh new growth of White Pine, and the logging was timed to take advantage of last year's bountiful seed crop. 

 

Prior to the harvest, site preparation involved removing Beech and some other species in the understory with a feller-buncher. Some 100-year-old White Pines were cut as well. But dozens of strong adult seed Pines were left behind to produce the next generation. Following the cut, Chris Crowe of Timberwolf returned to the site to scratch the soil with a bulldozer to improve the ground for new White Pine growth.

 

Now, nine months later, the first tiny White Pine trees are beginning to sprout on the ground. In time, a new Pine forest will become established here, supporting wildlife and the local economy.

 

Robert Berti of FORECO, one of the foresters on this sale, makes a critical point. "This timber sale would not have happened without the market for woodchips that our independent biomass energy plants support," he states. Sustainable forest management, new wildlife habitat, as well as hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic contribution depend on the woodchip market.  Yet Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed two bills, Senate bills 365 and 446, that support biomass energy. Both bills passed both houses of the New Hampshire legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

 

On Sept. 13, both the N.H. House and Senate will convene to consider Sununu's vetoes. Overturning the misinformed and irresponsible vetoes of Senate bills 365 and 446 will guarantee further such timber sales as the one in Rumney and will improve the health of our forests for wildlife and recreation.

The New Hampshire legislature has set Sept. 13, 2018, as the date when votes will be taken on whether Gov. Sununu's vetoes on certain pieces of legislation passed by the N.H. House and Senate should be overturned. Among the legislation to be considered are the two biomass bills that are crucial to the economic stability of New Hampshire's forest products industry, Senate bills 365 and 446. The governor's veto on each of these bills, both of which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, was ill-informed, misguided, and ignorant of the basic economic facts of New Hampshire's large forest-products industry.  
 
Leading up to the Sept. 13 vote, the NHTOA will host several rallies at biomass energy plants around the state. You are invited to attend any of these rallies -- note that media may be present at some or all of the events. The rallies include: 
  • July 30, 2018, 1:00 p.m. Springfield Power, 54 Four Corners Rd, Springfield, NH 03284
  • August 9, 2018, 1:00 p.m. Bridgewater Power, 441 Daniel Webster Hwy, Plymouth, NH 03264
  • August 14, 10:00 a.m. Bethlehem Power, 1241 Whitefield Road, Bethlehem, NH 03574
Two new rallies have been added to the schedule of veto-overturn rallies, one at the Mine Falls hydropower plant in Nashua on August 2, and one at MiltonCate in Londonderry on August 23. 
 
The New Hampshire legislature is scheduled to vote on September 13 on whether to overturn Gov. Sununu's veto of Senate bills 365 and 446. The vetoes are already causing job and business losses in the forest products industry, with more to come if the vetoes aren't overturned.
 
Leading up to the September 13 vote, the NHTOA and the rest of the renewable power coalition will host several rallies at biomass energy plants and municipal/private renewable energy facilities around the state. The up-to-date schedule of rallies appears below. You are invited to attend any of these rallies -- note that media may be present at some or all of the events. These rallies are a great opportunity to show first-hand the negative impact these vetoes are having on timberland owners, forest-products businesses, and New Hampshire's rural communities. Get the facts on these bills and learn what you can do to help us override the veto on September 13. 
The rallies include: 
  • July 30, 2018, 1:00 p.m. Springfield Power, 54 Fisher Corner Rd, Springfield, NH 03284
  • August 2, 2018, 9:00 a.m. Mine Falls hydropower plant, Stadium Drive, Nashua, NH  03062
  • August 9, 2018, 1:00 p.m. Bridgewater Power, 441 Daniel Webster Hwy, Plymouth, NH 03264
  • August 14, 2018, 10:00 a.m. Bethlehem Power, 1241 Whitefield Road, Bethlehem, NH 03574
  • August 23, 2018, 9:00 a.m. MiltonCAT, 30 Industrial Drive, Londonderry, NH  03053

On Monday, July 16, at the Pinetree-Tamworth biomass energy plant, Sen. Jeb Bradley, one of the earliest and most ardent supporters of Senate bills 365 and 446, urged landowners, loggers, sawmill operators, and all others associated with the forest management industry to write and call their state legislators to vote to override Gov. Sununu's misguided and misinformed vetoes of the two bills.

Pinetree-Tamworth is one of six independent biomass energy plants in New Hampshire, and it is scheduled to wind down operations in a week as a result of the vetoes. Three other biomass plants have already closed.

If the vetoes are not overriden by the N.H. House and Senate, when they vote on the vetoes in September, hundreds and jobs and millions of dollars of economic contribution to the N.H. economy will be lost. Moreover, the bills promote sustainable forest management, wildlife habitat improvement, and outdoor recreation opportunities on private land -- all of these will be lost, too, if the vetoes aren't overturned. 

SB 365 supports the six independent biomass (wood chip) power plants. It sets up a power contract with Eversource for three years to ensure the plants operate so the Governor's study commission (established in last year's budget) can do its work to find a long-term solution. 
 
SB 446 seeks to eliminate some of the barriers individuals and businesses that generate power on-site face when selling the excess power back to the grid (a.k.a. "net metering"). A number of N.H. sawmills and other wood/forest products manufacturers are doing this and looking to expand their ability to do this with biomass boilers, small hydroelectric, and solar panels.
 
Together, the two pieces of legislation are crucial to New Hampshire forestland owners and thousands of forest-related businesses (consulting foresters, logging contractors, sawmills, etc.) as they support the state's biomass power industry and forest/wood processors. Without that support, the long-term future of sustainable forest management in the Granite State is very much in doubt.  

 

"Call your representatives, and then call them again and again," urged Sen. Bradley at Pinetree-Tamworth. He said that because both bills passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that the Sununu vetoes can be overturned. "But it won't happen without you," he said. "Every legislator needs to hear from you and everyone you know." 

Go to the NHTOA Facebook page to see more photos from the event at Pinetree-Tamworth. Also click here to watch a brief news report on the event broadcast on WMUR-TV.