For Immediate Release
Contact: Sen. Sylvia Larsen
Concord , NH—Citing the need for stronger public health and environmental protections for New Hampshire, Senator Sylvia Larsen recently sponsored and testified in support of SB292 and HB 1534 to require a state permit before allowing waste operators to burn debris from construction and demolition sites (C & D)
SB292, like HB 1534, requires any operators seeking to burn large-scale construction debris and demolition (C &D) materials to apply for a permit through the Department of Environmental Services (DES) to show their ability to control significant emissions for dangerous toxins, like lead, mercury, or benzene, before burning C &D or waste-derived products. State permits would include necessary background checks on operators as well as checks on environmental safeguards.
"C & D waste, when incinerated, is known to release toxins, which cause neurological problems, especially in children, as well as increased incidence of asthma and other respiratory problems," Larsen explained. “Most New England states prohibit C&D burning, so, without strict regulations, New Hampshire's weak permitting requirements could encourage large-scale importation and incineration of out-of state wastes."
Representatives of waste operators, seeking to open large-scale incinerators of C & D waste and the Department of Environmental Services opposed the bills arguing it would hinder the development of “new markets” in the state. However, a recent legislative study recommended instead that DES explore “new markets” such as deconstruction, a technique to destroy a building by preserving the individual parts like the windows, flooring, piping etc for future use.
During the State of the State Address on January 18th, Governor Lynch repeated his call for protecting our air quality and reducing the toxic emissions from burning C & D waste in New Hampshire, “We must not let New Hampshire become the new dumping ground for this toxic material.”
“New Hampshire should lose the burn and bury attitude toward this toxic debris." Larsen concluded. “We need to protect our children and our clean air. A real Yankee solution is to reuse and recycle.” Currently there is a moratorium of C & D burning in the state which ends July 1, 2006.
Larsen’s proposals would further safeguard against large-scale unregulated importation and burning of out of state construction waste.