New Hampshire Awarded $936,308 EPA Grant for Environment Programs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a number of annual grant opportunities for states and tribes making an active effort to maintain clean air, clean water and other ongoing EPA regulatory initiatives.

On July 14, 2017, New Hampshire became the latest state to receive an EPA grant to support the state’s efforts to promote a clean, green state environment. This is particularly significant in light of the current federal administration’s well-publicized attitude towards climate-related activities.

New Hampshire’s Environmental Initiatives

The NH-DES, or New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, is continuing to press forward to address a number of urgent environmental needs, some but not all of which are unique to the state.

The following programs are included in the state’s ongoing environmental initiatives, each of which are conducted in part through partnership with the EPA:

Clean Water for America. This amazing program focuses on bolstering support for the Clean Water Act, an EPA initiative that has been under near-constant attack since the current administration took control. New Hampshire sides with the EPA in upholding the Clean Water Rule to protect 2+ million miles of waterways that represent drinking water for 33 percent of Americans.

100 Percent Renewable Energy. New Hampshire is on the front lines fighting for mainstream adoption of renewable energy sources, including hydro, solar and wind power.

Climate Can’t Wait. This initiative focuses on the urgent need to address warming trends in the New England area, which are currently tracking as the fastest out of any North American region save Alaska. With a particularly dense population in this region, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is putting pressure on area industries to support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to slow the warming trend.

Global Warming Solutions. New Hampshire is an avid supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord. New Hampshire continues its efforts to garner support at the federal level for the Paris Agreement and simultaneously continues to put its initiatives into practice at the state level.

Go Solar. This is one of several New Hampshire-based programs to promote conversion to and use of solar energy for both homes and businesses.

Defend the Places We Love. This program is working across the board to re-instate protections for clean air, clean water, clean power and clean industry. Here, New Hampshire is collaborating with other state leaders to put pressure on Washington to safeguard our planet’s limited natural resources for future generations.

No Bees, No Food. This program highlights the plight of the honeybees and the ripple effect that will have on an estimated 90 percent of the world’s food supply. One of the major initiatives under this program is aimed at forcing large agri-chemical companies to cease use of chemical pesticides known to kill of honeybee colonies in large numbers.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Grants New Hampshire Award

President Trump’s choice of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the federal EPA administrator has caused a severe rift between the federal administration and many states.

As recently as February 2, 2017, New Hampshire denounced Administrator Pruitt for failing to do more to protect the state’s air and water and the families who live in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire has been vehement in its belief in the need for an EPA administrator who will put public health needs ahead of industry interests, rather than an administrator who is on record as having filed no less than 14 lawsuits against the EPA during his tenure as Attorney General.

However, the granting of $936,308 by Pruitt back to New Hampshire may be seen as an effort to put control of the state’s urgent environmental concerns back into the hands of state administrators instead.

The EPA stated that the nearly $1 million grant was designed to permit the state of New Hampshire to use the funds as needed to promote a variety of environmental initiatives as it sees fit, addressing pressing needs in local communities throughout the state.

Ultimately, the goal of the grant, according to the EPA’s press contact, is to give New Hampshire greater flexibility and control to address needs as they arise.

How New Hampshire Plans to Allocate Grant Funds

Robert Scott, the NH-DES Commissioner, has stated that the receipt of a single large grant will help to reduce the state’s administrative costs as it allocates the funds towards various environmental initiatives and programs.

In particular, the New Hampshire administration plans to allocate a portion of the EPA grant funds to each of the following programs:

– Air pollution.
– Water pollution.
– Waste management.
– Pollution prevention.
– Public beach protection.
– Public drinking water maintenance.
– Sustainable resource practices.

Ultimately, the state of New Hampshire views the grant award as another opportunity to strengthen its existing ties with the US-EPA through ongoing support of federal initiatives like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and additional multi-function programs that are more difficult to fund through more traditional avenues.

State Initiatives to Implement Environmental Regulations

Individual states may determine it is in the best interests of their citizens to implement even more rigorous regulations than those required at the federal level. To date, this continues to be a state right, and an approved use of funds such as this recent EPA grant.

When EPA grant funds are used in conjunction with state-generated funds to promote and expand upon such state initiatives, states like New Hampshire gain the ability to address their own in-state environmental concerns and needs separate and apart from environmental concerns on a federal level.

New Hampshire states its intention to use the EPA performance partnership grant (PPG) funds to address its internal environmental concerns on behalf of its constituents while continuing to support similar federal initiatives.

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