NH MUNICIPALITIES FACE EXPENSIVE UNFUNDED MANDATE
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Frank Guinta (NH-1) re-introduced the Great Bay Regulatory Improvement Act (H.R. 3615) to save a coalition of towns on New Hampshire’s Great Bay as much as $250 million, a cost that could severely strain their finances. “Towns on our seacoast face an enormous tab, because of an unfunded federal mandate, based on shoddy science,” he said.
His bipartisan legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay enforcement of its order that towns from Exeter to Dover add costly infrastructure to decrease nitrogen levels in the local estuary to three milligrams per liter from eight. Newmarket , Rochester and Portsmouth also dispute the more than 60 percent drop would solve an overgrown eelgrass problem. “We’re looking at a dramatic tax increase to solve a problem that does not exist,” said Rep. Guinta (NH-1).
Manchester’s former two-term mayor and current member of the House Financial Services Committee said that the EPA bypassed the usual regulatory process to enact its aggressive agenda. “We care as much about our environment as anyone, but we also care about our municipal budgets, jobs and the economy, in addition to legal due process,” said Rep. Guinta.
The Congressman first introduced his legislation in the 112th Congress and said that he will not stop fighting federal encroachment into state affairs. “The EPA needs to listen to Granite Staters’ concerns and stop this reckless overreach,” he said.
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services reports that EPA methods to justify new nitrogen requirements do not show sufficient linkage between Great Bay nitrogen levels and eelgrass growth.