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Support for HB1649 and SB543 in New Hampshire for Healthier Rivers

river landscape
CT River from Orford, NH photo credit Al Braden

Connecticut River Conservancy along with other organizations recently submitted testimony on legislation related to PFAS and environmental adaption. The organizations we signed with are: The Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Mountain Club, New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions, New Hampshire Rivers Council, New Hampshire Lakes, New Hampshire Audubon, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Collaborative Solid Waste Strategies, League of Conservation Voters.


April 23, 2024

The Hon. Kevin Avard, Chair

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

State House Room 103

Concord, NH 03301

Re: HB 1649, relative to prohibiting certain products with intentionally-added PFAS

Dear Chairman Avard and Honorable Committee Members,

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to express our support for HB1649. Because reducing the use of PFAS is essential to protecting the health of our communities and our environment, we urge the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote ought to pass on HB 1649 as amended by the House.

PFAS are widespread and harmful to human health and the environment

PFAS are a class of chemicals numbering in the thousands. They are highly toxic, causing the state to regulate four PFAS in drinking water and groundwater at the parts-per-trillion level. They are also highly persistent in human bodies and the environment, earning them the apt name “forever chemicals.” The harmful impacts of PFAS on human health are far-reaching and include certain cancers, liver and thyroid dysfunction, fertility issues, neurobehavioral disorders in children, obesity, and immunotoxicity. PFAS have been found in about half the country’s tap water. In New Hampshire, PFAS have been documented in at least 120 private wells and in public water systems. Humans are primarily exposed to PFAS through drinking water, eating fish, breathing contaminated air, and using consumer products that have PFAS.

The costs of PFAS pollution are high

The costs of cleaning up PFAS in our environment and addressing the adverse health consequences of PFAS are mounting and can be anticipated to reach into the tens of billions of dollars nationwide. New Hampshire and its municipalities have already begun to face the costs of testing and/or treating drinking water and wastewater for PFAS.

Reducing PFAS at the source is essential to avoiding harm and solving the PFAS crisis

Because they are so widespread, toxic, and persistent, PFAS must be addressed “upstream” by reducing them at the source. HB 1649 is essential to solving the PFAS pollution crisis—and to protecting the health of our communities and environment—since it prohibits the sale of ten categories of consumer products with intentionally-added PFAS.

Without HB 1649, consumers cannot know if the products they purchase have these harmful

chemicals and will continue to expose themselves and their loved ones unknowingly. PFAS in consumer products have contributed to PFAS pollution of waterways, drinking water, groundwater, air, and food sources, causing widespread exposures. Only through stemming the flow of these chemicals in the marketplace can we begin to tackle their environmental contamination and public health consequences.

For these reasons, we strongly support HB 1649 and urge you to vote ought to pass.

See the submitted testimony with the full list of signees here.


April 24, 2024

Chairman Mark McConkey

House Public Works and Highways Committee

LOB Room 201-203

Concord, NH 03301

Re: SB543, establishing the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation council

Dear Chairman McConkey and Committee Members:

We are writing to support SB543, establishing the environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation advisory council. The undersigned groups work on a broad range of environmental issues in the state, including land conservation, forestry, water protection, clean energy, wildlife habitat, and recreation. We often work with municipalities and state agencies to advance our shared goals, and we are increasingly collaborating with them to both respond to and prepare for the impacts of extreme weather on our natural and cultural resources.

From record-setting temperatures, to challenges for agriculture and recreation, to flooding and erosion, we are all dealing with resulting impacts to infrastructure, lands, and waters. We believe that the Council created in SB543 will help us all prepare for the future through a more comprehensive and strategic approach. Many of our groups are seeing the impacts of extreme weather on our own properties, and on the lands and waters that we work so hard to protect for the benefit of everyone in NH. We would welcome the opportunity to share our expertise and experiences with a state resilience council, and to support increased coordination and collaboration among state agencies, municipalities, nonprofits, and the academic community in addressing the challenges of becoming more resilient.

We urge you to support SB543. It is a modest but important next step to increase New Hampshire’s resilience and preparedness for extreme weather.

See the submitted testimony with the full list of signees here.


Learn more about Connecticut River Conservancy's advocacy efforts throughout the watershed here.


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