• ECHO Action Editor

Deluge of emails against climate-denying Michael Vose, bring SEC appointment withdrawal

Two weeks of email and social media campaigns to the NH Executive Council turned out hundreds of emails opposing Michael Vose appointment to the Site Evaluation Committee. Vose, who claims the EPA has found fracking to be safe and does not accept the science behind anthropogenic climate change, was kept off the Site Evaluation Committee thanks to the dedication of environmentalists statewide.

Former NED pipeline opponents, Granite Bridge pipeline opponents and Northern Pass opponents came together in a statewide effort letting Governor Sununu know that massive infrastructure overbuild that utilities profit from and ratepayers pay the economic, health, safety and climate costs for, with no longer be tolerated. This statewide effort is a sign of the rapidly increasing transition to renewable energy, electrification and microgrids.

In 2018, 20 communities voted to support offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine through warrant article, with many more expected to follow in the spring of 2019. Governor Sununu said he would request a federal task force to study offshore wind if there was demonstrated support, but has not yet taken action.

"Dear Honorable Executive Councilors, I am writing to express my deep concern about Governor Sununu's selection of Michael Vose to be appointed to the Site Evaluation Committee.

Michael Vose's record:

• Advocate of Granite Bridge

• Advocate of Northern Pass

• Involved as sponsor to withdraw NH from RGGI

• Voted against lifting the net metering cap

• Votes against energy efficiency

• Votes against subsidies for renewables

• Supporter of the trash burning facility being included in the RPS

• Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, believes the scientific community has not reached consensus on the human causation of climate change.

• Is misinformed and believes the EPA has cleared fracking of environmental concerns.

Northern Granite Staters have been in fierce opposition to the Northern Pass for years, with the firm support of those in southern regions. Southern and Central residents have also waged intense opposition to the NED pipeline, Granite Bridge Pipeline and LNG tank, Ashuelot River crossing pipeline, Lebanon, Hanover and Keene gas expansion and other fossil fuel projects. Regardless, Governor Sununu and industry supporters continue to push for these unwanted projects.

New Hampshire deserves a representative on the Site Evaluation Committee who will put our economic, health, safety, air, water, food and needs first, with serious consideration of tourism and wildlife impacts from large-scale infrastructure overbuild. Michael Vose does not speak for us.

In the December 15th Union Leader article, Sununu, inner circle received thousands from lobbyist-funded nonprofit, it was revealed that Eversource contributed $25,000 to Governor Sununu's inauguration committee. With this knowledge, consistent support of Northern Pass, despite the public's desire to squash the project, seems a bit more clear.

Liberty Utilities successfully lobbied all of NH's State Senators to support the Granite Bridge Pipeline despite their inability to prove need, a devastating report from the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and opportunities like offshore wind hanging in the balance, ignored by a Governor who promised action. Far more jobs would be created by offshore wind and expanded solar than Northern Pass and pipelines. Who will put our health, our jobs and our future first?

Climate change is escalating at an alarming rate. New Hampshire continues to fall well behind our neighbors in Vermont and Massachusetts in taking action and accelerating our move to renewable energy. At this time, the PUC is not required to consider climate impacts when deciding to approve a project. Michael Vose's position on the SEC would further imperil us and put the utilities at an even higher advantage. I ask you to take responsible measures now.

Did you know that the Green New Deal has bipartisan support? Public officials are being commended for putting health, safety and environment ahead of politics as usual. Our very survival is in the hands of those in local to national leadership roles.

"Some members of Congress are proposing a “Green New Deal” for the U.S. They say that a Green New Deal will produce jobs and strengthen America’s economy by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. The Deal would generate 100% of the nation’s electricity from clean, renewable sources within the next 10 years; upgrade the nation’s energy grid, buildings, and transportation infrastructure; increase energy efficiency; invest in green technology research and development; and provide training for jobs in the new green economy.

While the Green New Deal has been a fixture of the post-election news cycle, and at least 40 members of Congress (to date) have endorsed the idea..."

Mr. Vose does not understand or accept science and therefore, is not a qualified candidate to serve on the Site Evaluation Committee. At a time when science is being denied and is under attack, we are in desperate need of transparency and representatives with credibility and integrity who represent the people. The public has the deck stacked against them. You can change that.

I respectfully ask that you vote no on the appointment of Michael Vose to the Site Evaluation Committee and that you have a public hearing so that the people can voice their needs and concerns.

With great respect, The ECHO Action Team"

"Gov. Chris Sununu lost the second of his three picks to join the state Site Evaluation Committee with former Republican state Rep. Michael Vose of Epping withdrawing his nomination Tuesday on the eve of a showdown vote on the Executive Council. Sununu had been a vocal supporter of Vose’s candidacy as someone who vowed to oppose expensive subsidies for renewable energy and who would embrace the governor’s energy agenda that placed the most emphasis on lowering some of the highest electric rates in the country.

“After further consideration of the time and travel requirements involved, I withdraw my name from consideration in nomination as a full public member of the Site Evaluation Committee,” Vose said in a statement.

“I thank Governor Sununu for the honor of being considered for this opportunity to serve the citizens of our state. I remain committed to working to keep energy reliable and affordable for everyone.”

Even while accepting defeat, Sununu praised Vose. “Michael is a true public servant and a tireless advocate for New Hampshire’s ratepayers,” Sununu said in a statement. “I appreciate his consideration of this nomination.”

Critics maintained Vose was a strong supporter of Northern Pass and Sununu’s advocacy for him was in part driven by revenge against that panel. Last February, the SEC rejected the high-wire transmission project to deliver Canadian hydropower down through New England, a project Sununu has lobbied for the state to approve.

Sununu sharply criticized the SEC’s decision and supported the appeal of Northern Pass’ lead developer, Eversource NH, of the siting agency decision to the state Supreme Court.“This was clearly an inappropriate choice,” said Councilor Andru Volinsky, D-Concord. “I spoke to Michael Vose. He was a climate change denier and someone who didn’t believe fracking had any negative impact on the environment.” Vose’s pullout came as it was clear he would have lost a test vote on the council.

Today’s meeting is expected to be the last one when Republicans enjoy a 3-2 majority.Starting in January, the council majority flips to 3-2 Democratic replacing Milford Republican Dave Wheeler with former Democratic Councilor Deborah Pignatelli of Nashua.

Councilor Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, had said prior to the vote he received more than 40 emails in opposition to Vose and that Vose’s views for Northern Pass and against subsidies for the biomass industry were problematic.

“There’s been a lot of concern in Grafton and Coos Counties that Vose has leanings towards Northern Pass,” Kenney said recently. “He was very vocal against the biomass plants and was outspoken against Senate Bill 365.” Last month, Sununu had gotten one of his two other nominees to the SEC through the council.

The panel voted unanimously to confirm George Kassas, a Salem international sales executive who co-founded Bireme Systems and had not expressed any past opinion about Northern Pass.

Sununu’s other nominee, Geoff Mitchell with Brandt Energy failed by a 3-2 vote when Kenney joined outgoing Councilor Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, and Volinsky in opposition.Greg Moore, state director of the fiscally-conservative Americans for Prosperity, said Vose “did his homework” and would have fought projects that didn’t do more to lower energy costs.

“Former Representative Vose was focused on delivering for ratepayers. He did his homework on the issue so the withdrawal of his nomination was not a good development when it came to furthering that mission,” Moore added. Outgoing Democratic state Rep. Mindi Messner of Rye, an unsuccessful candidate for Congress, celebrated Vose’s withdrawal.

“WE DID IT!” Messner tweeted.

“News just in! Michael Vose pulled himself out of the running for the Site Evaluation Committee. Thank you, everyone — people power works!”Seacoast environmental and Democratic activist Larry Drake said Sununu won’t get his way with the new council.

“This is an important victory for pro-environmental forces and a taste of what Gov. Sununu will face in the next 2 years,” Drake tweeted.

But the New Hampshire Republican State Committee responded it’s consumers who will be the loser.

“(This is) More like a taste of what electric consumers will face the next two years: higher rates, wasteful subsidies and fear mongering from @NHDems,” the state GOP answered in its own tweet."


© 2020 ECHO Action: #FossilFree603  • •

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