May 8, 2021
Letter to the Editor: A threat to wildlife
Are New Hampshire legislators trying to fool us? SB 129, now under consideration by the NH House of Representatives, is ironically and misleadingly, officially described as "designed to minimize environmental impacts to endangered or threatened species habitats." Sounds good doesn't it?
Yet, this developer-inspired bill would actually decrease the protection of such habitats. Currently, developers must show in their permit applications that their plans "will not result in adverse impacts" on threatened or endangered species of animals.
But, SB 129 proposes that developers' plans "not appreciably jeopardize the continued existence of such species or result in the destruction or modification of habitat of such species which is determined by the executive director to be critical, by requiring that all such action is designed to avoid and minimize harm to such species and habitat designated as critical." This is a much lower standard and, because of its vagueness, much more difficult to enforce. Tragically, it would result in increased risk to a wide range of wildlife whose existence has already been deemed threatened or endangered — like the spotted turtle, the peregrine falcon, and several species of butterflies.
At a hearing of the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee, 147 citizens opposed SB 129, while only 13 supported it. Yet the committee voted to pass the bill despite this strong opposition to SB 129.
Please contact your representatives and tell them to vote against this anti-wildlife bill.