Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

On Homeland Security Director Plummer Admitting

The Legislature’s REF Raid is Barely Even Connected to Energy and Goes to General Government

by Kate Epsen

The recent NHPR story (6/19/2015, Advocates for Renewable Energy see Opportunity in Veto Threat) provides refreshing candor from a New Hampshire government leader and confirms our earlier conclusion that the legislature’s raid on the Renewable Energy Fund is an unconstitutional diversion of funds with no nexus to the REF’s purpose and the barest of ties even to energy at all.

In the story, NH’s Homeland Security Director, Perry Plummer, went on record to state in full honesty:

“That money goes to drills and planning for some kind of nuclear accident. But quite frankly we’ve been reaping the benefits of [VT Yankee nuclear funds] because when we do planning yes we do planning for a nuclear incident but also we use those same planning activities for all hazards.”

In other words, Director Plummer has publicly confirmed that the legislature is raiding the fund for general governmental services, not public-private program uses related to renewable energy. The Director’s statement shows that the ostensible tie to utility disaster planning is barely a fig leaf for the real purpose of the raid, which is to help the department perform its basic disaster planning function.

Legally, this statement leaves very little room for interpretation. In fact, according to Attorney Gordon MacDonald:

“This information establishes that renewable energy funds would be diverted for general government purposes. Such a diversion would result in an unconstitutional tax.”

The bottom line is that the statement confirms once again that the legislature is taking a legal fee and turning it into an unconstitutional tax to fund more general government. As the budget process continues under a veto scenario, we will continue to strongly urge the Governor and Legislature to correct this unnecessary and harmful raid and to enact a final budget that would pass legal muster.

Kate Epsen is the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association and NH CleanTech Council.


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