FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Senator Dick Green
(603) 271 – 7802
Contact: Senator Iris Estabrook
(603) 271 - 3096
April 26, 2006
Concord , NH – Today the New Hampshire House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in support of regulating large groundwater withdrawals. This gives the Department of Environmental Services(DES) clear language as to their regulatory authority in considering large ground water applications.
The New Hampshire State Senate acted on Senate Bill 386 in mid-March, voting 19 – 5 for passage. The House of Representatives voted in favor, 236 – 63, for the bill as amended by the Senate.
Senate Bill 386 is the product of three years of studying water resources in New Hampshire. A Study Committee worked at great length with the Attorney General’s Office, DES, and New Hampshire communities to preserve our natural resource.
Senate Bill 386 determines how water resources can be used in the state. As a result of SB 386 local communities will now have a say over the use of their water resources and be an active participant in the withdrawal process. Appeals are directed to the superior court when there are requests for large groundwater withdrawal permits. Further, municipalities have been enabled to request a determination from DES that the public trust is not being violated and, while Senate Bill 386 does not give municipalities the ultimate authority in issuing permits, it does grant them intervenor status so that they can protect their water sources.
Senator Dick Green (R- Rochester), a long time advocate of regulating withdrawals, remarked, “As prime sponsor of Senate Bill 386, I am pleased that it passed by such a large margin in the House. The legislature is paying such close attention to our water sources and recognizes the immediate need to protect them for the future.”
Senator Iris Estabrook (D- Durham), a cosponsor, concluded, “It is gratifying to see the large ground water withdrawal permitting process improved. It is tremendously important to regulate this process so we can continue to meet our needs in the state of New Hampshire.”
Senate Bill 386 will take effect 60 days after its passage.