On April 19, the New Hampshire Senate approved HB 1104, a bill its supporters are pushing as needed “regulatory reform” to promote economic development. We see it much differently and believe it will undermine protections for our state’s critical wetlands resources. As we previously noted, HB 1104 will amend RSA 482-A to arbitrarily truncate the review times within which DES must act on wetland applications. These shortened review times are bad for two reasons: 1) there is no evidence that the existing statutory review times are failing the wetland resources the law is written to protect; 2) there is no allowance for added financial resources to allow DES to hire more staff to meet the new truncated review times.
Because the bill contained a “fiscal note” outlining the potential fiscal impact to the state budget, the bill recently had a second review before the Senate Finance Committee. It will now have a final vote in the Senate on either May 2 or May 3.
Despite HB 1104’s seemingly easy passage through the legislative process, the negative impacts it will have on our state’s natural resources are real. If you share the concerns we expressed in our testimony, please ask members of the Senate to vote against this bill.