SB451 (2024) Detail

Relative to an expedited track for certain applications to the site evaluation committee.


SB 451 - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

02/21/2024   0665s

2024 SESSION

24-3011

10/05

 

SENATE BILL 451

 

AN ACT relative to an expedited track for certain applications to the site evaluation committee.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Fenton, Dist 10; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Lang, Dist 2; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Altschiller, Dist 24; Sen. Murphy, Dist 16; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Rep. Cormen, Graf. 15; Rep. McGhee, Hills. 35; Rep. Vose, Rock. 5

 

COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes an alternative procedure and timelines for an expedited track for changes to existing energy facilities meeting certain criteria.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

02/21/2024   0665s 24-3011

10/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four

 

AN ACT relative to an expedited track for certain applications to the site evaluation committee.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Paragraph; Definitions.  Amend RSA 162-H:2 by inserting after paragraph XI the following new paragraph:

XI-a.  “Qualified existing energy facility expansion and repowering” means an existing electric generating facility which holds a current certificate from the site evaluation committee, or which began operating prior to the site evaluation committee certificate process and which has a current interconnection with the distribution and/or regional transmission system.  Such facilities shall be subject to expansion requirements under RSA 162-H:7-a, and RSA 162-H:10.  Expansion of such facilities shall be no larger than the existing facility's name plate capacity and shall be located at the existing facility's physical location or abutting parcel.

2  Energy Facility Siting, Construction, and Operation; Applications; Reference to Expedited Process.  Amend RSA 162-H:7 to read as follows:

162-H:7 Application for Certificate; Qualified Existing Energy Facilities Expansion and Repowering.

I. [Repealed.]

II. All applications for a certificate for an energy facility shall be filed with the chairperson of the site evaluation committee.

III. Upon filing of an application, the committee shall expeditiously conduct a preliminary review to ascertain if the application contains sufficient information to carry out the purposes of this chapter. If the application does not contain such sufficient information, the committee shall, in writing, expeditiously notify the applicant of that fact and specify what information the applicant must supply.

IV.  Each application shall contain sufficient information to satisfy the application requirements of each state agency having jurisdiction, under state or federal law, to regulate any aspect of the construction or operation of the proposed facility, and shall include each agency's completed application forms, which shall be contemporaneously filed with the state agency having jurisdiction. Upon receipt of a copy, each agency shall conduct a preliminary review to ascertain if the application contains sufficient information for its purposes. If the application does not contain sufficient information for the purposes of any of the state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority, that agency shall, in writing, notify the committee and the applicant of that fact and specify what information the applicant must supply. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for purposes of the time limitations imposed by this section, any application made under this section shall be deemed not accepted either by the committee or by any of the state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority if the applicant is reasonably notified that it has not supplied sufficient information for any of the state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority in accordance with this paragraph.

V. Each application shall also:

(a) Describe in reasonable detail the type and size of each major part of the proposed facility.

(b) Identify both the applicant's preferred choice and other alternatives it considers available for the site and configuration of each major part of the proposed facility and the reasons for the applicant's preferred choice.

(c) Describe in reasonable detail the impact of each major part of the proposed facility on the environment for each site proposed.

(d) Describe in reasonable detail the applicant's proposals for studying and solving environmental problems.

(e) Describe in reasonable detail the applicant's financial, technical, and managerial capability for construction and operation of the proposed facility.

(f) Document that written notification of the proposed project, including appropriate copies of the application, has been given to the appropriate governing body of each affected municipality, as defined in RSA 162-H:2, I-b. The application shall include a list of the affected municipalities.

(g) Describe in reasonable detail the elements of and financial assurances for a facility decommissioning plan.

(h) Provide such additional information as the committee may require to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

V-a.  Upon filing the application with the committee, the applicant shall publish a public notice in one or more newspapers having a regular circulation in the county in which the facility is located, describing the nature and location of the proposed facility.  

VI. The committee shall [decide] make a finding of public interest whether or not to accept the application as administratively complete and that the application meets the requirements of RSA 162-H:2,XI-a, relative to qualified existing energy facility expansion and repowering, within [60] 30 days of filing. Notice of acceptance of the application shall be simultaneously provided to the applicant and the applicable state agency. If the committee rejects an application because it determines it to be administratively incomplete, the applicant may choose to file a new and more complete application or cure the defects in the rejected application within 10 days of receipt of notification of rejection.

VI-a. Public information sessions shall be held in accordance with RSA 162-H:10.

VI-b. All state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority shall report their progress to the committee within [150] 90 days of the acceptance of the application, outlining draft permit conditions and specifying additional data requirements necessary to make a final decision on the parts of the application that relate to its permitting or other regulatory authority.

VI-c. All state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority shall make and submit to the committee a final decision on the parts of the application that relate to its permitting and other regulatory authority, no later than [240] 120 days after the application has been accepted.

VI-d. Within [365] 180 days of the acceptance of an application, the committee shall issue or deny a certificate for an energy facility.

VII. This chapter shall not preclude an agency from imposing its usual statutory fees.

VIII. The applicant shall immediately inform the committee and applicable state agency of any substantive modification to its application.

3  Public Hearing; Studies; Rules.  Amend RSA 162-H:10 to read as follows:

162-H:10  Public Hearing; Studies; Rules.

I.  At least 30 days prior to filing an application for a certificate, an applicant shall hold at least one public information session in each county where the proposed facility is to be located and shall, at a minimum, publish a public notice not less than 14 days before such session in one or more newspapers having a regular circulation in the county in which the session is to be held, describing the nature and location of the proposed facility.  The applicant shall also send a copy of the public notice, not less than 14 days before the session, by first class mail to the governing body of each affected municipality.  At such session, the applicant shall present information regarding the project and provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the public to be addressed by the applicant.  Not less than 10 days before such session, the applicant shall provide a copy of the public notice to the chairperson of the committee.  The applicant shall arrange for a transcript of such session to be prepared and shall include the transcript in its application for a certificate.

I-a.  Within [45] 30 days after acceptance of an application for a certificate, pursuant to RSA 162-H:7, the applicant shall hold at least one public information session as described in paragraph I in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located and shall, at a minimum, publish a public notice not less than 14 days before said session in one or more newspapers having a regular circulation in the county in which the session is to be held, describing the nature and location of the proposed facility.  The applicant shall also send a copy of the public notice, not less than 14 days before the session, by first class mail to the governing body of each affected municipality.  Not less than 10 days before such session, the applicant shall provide a copy of the public notice to the presiding officer of the committee.  The administrator, or a designee of the presiding officer of the committee, shall act as presiding officer of the information session.  The session shall be for public information on the proposed facility with the applicant presenting the information to the public.  The presiding officer shall also explain to the public the process the committee will use to review the application for the proposed facility.

I-b.  [Upon request of the governing body of a municipality or unincorporated place in which any part of the proposed facility is to be located, or on the committee's own motion, the committee may order the applicant to provide such additional public information sessions as described in paragraph I as are reasonable to inform the public of the proposed project.

I-c.]  Within [90] 45 days after acceptance of an application for a certificate, pursuant to RSA 162-H:7, the site evaluation committee shall hold at least one public hearing in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located and the applicant shall publish a public notice not less than 14 days before such hearing in one or more newspapers having a regular circulation in the county in which the hearing is to be held, describing the nature and location of the proposed facilities.  Not fewer than 10 days before such session, the applicant shall provide a copy of the public notice to the presiding officer of the committee.  The applicant shall arrange for a transcript of such session to be prepared.  Except for state agencies and programs that are required by state or federal law or regulation to comply with program specific public notice and public hearing requirements, the public hearings may be joint hearings, with representatives of the agencies that have permitting or other regulatory authority over the subject matter and shall be deemed to satisfy all initial requirements for public hearings under statutes requiring permits relative to environmental impact.  The hearing may be a joint hearing with the other state agencies; provided, however, if any of such other state agencies does not otherwise have authority to conduct hearings, it may not join in the hearing under this chapter; provided further, however, the ability or inability of any of the other state agencies to join shall not affect the composition of the committee under RSA 162-H:3 nor the ability of any member of the committee to act in accordance with this chapter.

II.  [Subsequent] Public hearings shall be in the nature of adjudicative proceedings under RSA 541-A and shall be held in the county or one of the counties in which the proposed facility is to be located or in Concord, New Hampshire, as determined by the site evaluation committee.  The committee shall give adequate public notice of the time and place of each subsequent hearing.

III.  The site evaluation committee shall consider and weigh all evidence presented at public hearings and shall consider and weigh written information and reports submitted to it by members of the public before, during, and subsequent to public hearings but prior to the closing of the record of the proceeding.  The committee shall provide an opportunity at one or more public hearings for comments from the governing body of each affected municipality and residents of each affected municipality.  The committee shall consider, as appropriate, prior committee findings and rulings on the same or similar subject matters, but shall not be bound thereby.

IV.  The site evaluation committee shall require from the applicant whatever information it deems necessary to assist in the conduct of the hearings, and any investigation or studies it may undertake, and in the determination of the terms and conditions of any certificate under consideration.

V.  The site evaluation committee and counsel for the public shall conduct such reasonable studies and investigations as they deem necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this chapter and may employ a consultant or consultants, legal counsel and other staff in furtherance of the duties imposed by this chapter, the cost of which shall be borne by the applicant or certificate holder in such amount as may be approved by the committee.  The site evaluation committee and counsel for the public are further authorized to assess the applicant or certificate holder for all travel and related expenses associated with the processing of an application or other proceedings under this chapter.

VI.  The site evaluation committee shall issue such rules to administer this chapter, pursuant to RSA 541-A, after public notice and hearing, as may from time to time be required.

[VII.  As soon as practicable but no later than November 1, 2015, the committee shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the organization, practices, and procedures of the committee and criteria for the siting of energy facilities, including specific criteria to be applied in determining if the requirements of RSA 162-H:16, IV have been met by the applicant for a certificate of site and facility.  Prior to the adoption of such rules, the department of energy shall hire and manage one or more consultants to conduct a public stakeholder process to develop recommended regulatory criteria, which may include consideration of issues identified in attachment C of the 2008 final report of the state energy policy commission, as well as others that may be identified during the stakeholder process.  Except for the cases where the adjudicatory hearing has commenced, applications pending on the date rules adopted under this paragraph take effect shall be subject to such rules.  Prior to the adoption of rules under this paragraph, applications shall be continuously processed pursuant to the rules in effect upon the date of filing.  If the rules require the submission of additional information by an applicant, such applicant shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to provide that information while the processing of the application continues.]

4  Applicability.  RSA 162-H, as amended by this act, shall apply to applications submitted on or after the effective date of this act.  An applicant with a pending application on the effective date of this act shall have the option to resubmit the application under RSA 162-H, as amended by this act.

5  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Amendments

Date Amendment
Feb. 13, 2024 2024-0665s

Links


Date Body Type
Jan. 23, 2024 Senate Hearing
Feb. 21, 2024 Senate Floor Vote
Feb. 21, 2024 Senate Floor Vote
March 25, 2024 House Hearing
April 15, 2024 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

SB451 Revision: 40955 Date: Feb. 21, 2024, 2:11 p.m.
SB451 Revision: 40854 Date: Feb. 13, 2024, 2:51 p.m.
SB451 Revision: 40218 Date: Dec. 12, 2023, 2:41 p.m.

Docket


April 5, 2024: Executive Session: 04/15/2024 02:00 pm LOB 302-304


March 20, 2024: Public Hearing: 03/25/2024 10:00 am LOB 302-304


Feb. 29, 2024: Introduced 02/29/2024 and referred to Science, Technology and Energy HJ 6


Feb. 20, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-0665s, MA, VV; OT3rdg; 02/21/2024; SJ 5


Feb. 20, 2024: Committee Amendment # 2024-0665s, AA, VV; 02/21/2024; SJ 5


Feb. 15, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-0665s, 02/21/2024; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 8


Feb. 14, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment #2024-0665s, 02/21/2024; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 8


Jan. 18, 2024: Hearing: 01/23/2024, Room 103, SH, 09:30 am; SC 4


Dec. 12, 2023: To Be Introduced 01/03/2024 and Referred to Energy and Natural Resources; SJ 1