Governor Lynch let a bill to halve energy efficiency funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) become law this Saturday. To date, the energy efficiency investment program provided $27 million in resources to businesses, municipalities and homeowners.
“RGGI has been a key part of New Hampshire’s plan to reduce pollution and move toward clean energy,” said Jessica O’Hare, advocate with Environment New Hampshire. “While we are encouraged that our cornerstone clean energy program will live to see another day, we are disappointed that some members of our Legislature voted to cut energy efficiency funding from RGGI in half.”
RGGI uses the proceeds collected from polluters to help businesses and homeowners retrofit their buildings with energy efficiency measures and save money on their energy bills. According to a recent Environment New Hampshire report, A Program that Works, the $93 million in energy savings from energy retrofits and the jobs created for energy professionals has led to $163 million in economic growth.
In late May, the Legislature agreed upon changes to the RGGI program, offered by Sen. Bradley of Wolfeboro, in a negotiating committee. HB 1490, the bill to weaken RGGI, then moved to the Governor’s desk, where he had five business days including Saturday to make a decision.
The bill as amended does the following: (1) diverts all resources into the utility run energy efficiency programs, (2) cuts funding for energy efficiency in half by placing a $1 threshold on revenue for conservation, (3) makes New Hampshire’s participation in RGGI contingent on Massachusetts and Connecticut remaining in the program, and (4) removes the repeal provision.
To uphold a veto from Gov. Lynch would have required eight votes in the state senate.
“RGGI is a triple win for the Granite State,” stated O’Hare. “We thank the legislators that stood up for clean energy in New Hampshire, and are disappointed that others voted to weaken a program that is working.”