SB543 (2024) Detail

Establishing the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation council.


SB 543 - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

04/05/2024   1236s

2024 SESSION

24-3077

08/10

 

SENATE BILL 543

 

AN ACT establishing the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation council.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. Fenton, Dist 10; Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5; Sen. Altschiller, Dist 24; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11

 

COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation council.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

04/05/2024   1236s 24-3077

08/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four

 

AN ACT establishing the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation council.

 

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

 

1  New Chapter; State Environmental Adaptation, Resilience, and Innovation Advisory Council.  Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 4-H the following new chapter:

CHAPTER 4-I

STATE ENVIRONMENTAL ADAPTATION, RESILIENCE,

AND INNOVATION ADVISORY COUNCIL

4-I:1  Purpose.  Based on events in recent years, as well as future projections of environmental changes in New Hampshire, adaptation, resilience and innovation leadership at the state level can help residents, communities, businesses, institutions and state government itself become more resilient and ready to adapt to these changes. Environmental change will increasingly impact all communities in New Hampshire, as well as state assets and infrastructure, resulting in new challenges to public health, infrastructure, tourism, natural resources, water and wastewater services, revenue sources, and the economy.  These changes require comprehensive planning to enable creative adaptation, resilience, financing, and innovation across the state government to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for New Hampshire residents, businesses, and communities.  Environmental change may disproportionately impact regions, populations, and natural resources in New Hampshire and stress existing services in health care, public health, education, transportation and other infrastructure. Adaptation, resilience, and innovation strategies can help to prioritize the allocation of investment of public resources to prevent negative impacts and ensure that investments are durable and equitable, especially to most at-risk populations and disproportionately impacted areas. Innovation through planning and financing can further the efficient and equitable use of public funds and serve to reduce potential burdens on taxpayers. Effective planning can facilitate more efficient functioning of state and local government, promote economic prosperity, workforce development, equitable opportunity, and public health in all policies, while protecting families, communities and the natural environment.

4-I:2  Definitions.  In this chapter:

I. “Adaptation” means reducing vulnerability and advancing resilience through planned and implemented enhancements to, or avoiding degradation of, natural and built systems and structures.

II. “Resilience” means the capacity of individuals, communities, governmental bodies, and natural and built systems to withstand and recover from environmental events, trends, and disruptions.

4-I: 3  Council Created.

I.  The state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation advisory council is established.

II.  Notwithstanding RSA 14:49, membership of the council shall be as follows:

(a)  The commissioner of the department of environmental services, or designee.

(b)  A representative of the governor, appointed by the governor.

(c)  The commissioner of the department of transportation, or designee.

(d)  The director of the division of homeland security and emergency management, or designee.

(e)  The commissioner of the department of health and human services, or designee.

(f)  The director of the New Hampshire agricultural experiment station at the university of New Hampshire, or designee.

(g)  The commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources, or designee.

(h)  The commissioner of the department of administrative services, or designee.

(i)  The commissioner of the department of education, or designee.

(j)  The executive director of the department of fish and game, or designee.

(k)  A representative of the office of planning and development in the department of business and economic affairs, appointed by that office.

(l)  A representative of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, appointed by the association.

(m)  A representative of the New Hampshire Association of Regional Planning Commissions, appointed by the president of that association.

(n)  Two members to represent environmental nonprofit organizations , appointed by the commissioner of the department of environmental services.

(o)  One member with expertise in environment or climate science, appointed by the president of the university of New Hampshire.

(p)  A representative of the Business and Industry Association, appointed by such association.

III.  The commissioner of the department of environmental services shall convene the council within 30 days of passage.  The council shall be facilitated by members of the body who have the resources to assist and any other entities, as determined by the council.  The council may develop procedures necessary for its work.  It shall meet at least 2 times annually.  Ten members, or their designees, shall constitute a quorum.  The chair or co-chairs shall be chosen by the council members, and shall serve in a coordinating capacity for meetings, and if resources are available, direct and support other coordinating activities.

IV.  The work of the council shall be guided by principles of seeking innovation in government operations, promoting effective approaches that build resilience against environmental changes to protect public health and foster business and workforce development, while protecting public investments and taxpayers, safety, and the responsible stewardship of the state’s natural resources.  The council shall recognize in its work the exclusive role of the legislature to enact policy through legislation, and it shall consult with legislators on any policy matters as deemed necessary by the council during its work.  The council shall seek to leverage partnerships with New Hampshire communities, business and environmental organizations, health organizations, educational institutions, and other groups with expertise useful to the council and related to advancing the state’s resilience in the face of natural disasters and environmental change.

V.  Subject to the availability of resources, the council may consider, but shall not be limited to, undertaking the following activities:

(a)  In cooperation with appropriate state agencies, consider the availability of and need for maps and data that indicate the areas of the state that may be most negatively impacted by environmental changes, and make any such maps publicly available on a website maintained by the state of New Hampshire or by a public institution of higher education.

(b)  Review existing activities, identify gaps, and consider strategies to include environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation planning in agency budget development, state planning activities, including the ten-year highway plan, the wildlife action plan, the homeland security hazard mitigation planning, the state health improvement plan, and other relevant plans, and in relevant state contracting.

(c)  Consider the findings of the 2021 New Hampshire Climate Assessment Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission and the Coastal Adaptation Working Group, including needs for building coastal defenses and to protect infrastructure, state port facilities, water and wastewater infrastructure, and economic and cultural resources from storm surge and rising seas.

(d)  Consider the impact of environmental change on public health, including most at-risk populations, and on the public health system as a whole, from health effects such as from heat-related illness, allergies, asthmas, lower air quality, reduced water quality, environmentally-related infectious diseases, and injuries and other health impacts induced by extreme weather events.

(e)  Consider strategies and costs of prudent adaptation efforts related to extreme heat, including, but not limited to upgrades in public facilities, planning for expansion of cooling centers, mitigation of urban heat islands, and other methods to address the health impacts related to the increase in days of extreme heat.

(f)  Consider strategies and costs to adapt and make more resilient state transportation infrastructure and consider future funding needs and sources for enhancements to storm drainage, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure to better handle extreme precipitation.

(g)  Consider adaptation and resilience strategies and funding needs for state, and state funded municipal facilities, for increased storm drainage capacity, wastewater treatment, water supply, and water treatment facilities.

(h)  Consider projected needs for building coastal defenses, adaptation, resilience, and coastal retreat to protect infrastructure, state port facilities, water and wastewater infrastructure, and economic and cultural resources from storm surge and rising seas.

(i)  Consider adaptation and resilience through planning, hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, and other efforts, including an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, sea level rise, a rise in vector-borne diseases, more frequent cyanobacteria blooms, ocean acidification, adverse impacts to forests and agriculture, flooding and droughts, and uncertain and lower snowfall.

(j)  Consider adaptation and resilience policies and strategies for forests, parks, agriculture, natural and cultural resources, land use planning, tourism, and others to increase resilience, improve air and water quality, and preserve economic vitality, ecosystem functions, local food systems, and create more environmentally resilient communities and landscapes.

(k)  Review existing and with available resources undertake or request necessary economic studies related to revenue impacts, credit ratings, insurance costs, health outcome burdens, impacts on tourism and recreation economy revenues; costs of transportation and other public infrastructure failures and disruptions; costs and potential losses to agricultural products and businesses; and cost impacts on municipal and public utility water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure

(l)  Make recommendations on potential funding to protect New Hampshire taxpayers from bearing the full burden of costs, and to explore innovative financing opportunities such as the creation of a state infrastructure financing authority, in consultation with entities including the community development finance authority and the business finance authority.

VI.  The council shall establish an environmental advisory working group to provide summaries of environmental change scenarios, drawing on existing national and regional reports, state plans and analysis related to temperature and precipitation, and the science and technical advisory panel reports on projected environmental change useful for planning purposes.  The working group shall review and consider existing research on issues related to the council's duties.  It shall include the New Hampshire state climatologist, and other experts who can provide scientific information to assist with the duties of the council.

VII.  The council may establish working groups composed of council members and non-members to assist in the work on the duties of the council.

VIII.  The council and its working groups established in paragraph VI and VII may solicit financial support, including funding from state government agencies, nonprofit organizations, federal grants, and foundations, to fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with RSA 4-I:4 and RSA 4-I:5. The reception of such funds shall require the approval of the joint fiscal committee.  The council may encourage cooperative agreements with entities including the university system of New Hampshire to fulfill its duties.

4-I:4  Funding.  The council shall determine the scope of its activities based on the availability of funds, from state funds not otherwise appropriated, from existing agency budgets, federal and other grant funding, and donations.  It may prepare a budget projection for consideration in the state operating budget.

4-I:5  The New Hampshire Environmental Adaptation, Resilience, and Innovation Fund Created.  There is hereby established in the state treasury the New Hampshire adaptation, resilience, and innovation fund supporting the work of the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation advisory council.  Such fund shall be non-lapsing and continually appropriated.  Such fund may be the depository of any federal and other grants, and state appropriations, upon approval of the joint fiscal committee and, when required by the statute, the governor and executive council,  for the purposes of supporting the work of the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation advisory council.  Funds may be expended upon recommendation of the council, with approval of the joint fiscal committee or, when required by statute, the executive council.

4-I:6  Report.  The council shall report annually on December 1 on its activities and any recommendations for state agency actions, legislative proposals, and budgetary needs to the governor, the executive council, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives.

2  New Subparagraph; Application of Receipts; Dedicated Fund.  Amend RSA 6:12, I(b) by inserting after subparagraph (394) the following new subparagraph:

(395)  Moneys deposited in the New Hampshire adaptation, resilience, and innovation fund established in RSA 4-I:5.

3  Repeal.  RSA 4-I, relative to the state environmental adaptation, resilience, and innovation advisory council, is repealed.

4  Effective Date.

I.  Section 3 of this act shall take effect June 30, 2027.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect 30 days after its passage.

Amendments

Date Amendment
March 20, 2024 2024-1236s

Links


Date Body Type
March 5, 2024 Senate Hearing
April 4, 2024 Senate Floor Vote
April 24, 2024 House Hearing

Bill Text Revisions

SB543 Revision: 41538 Date: April 5, 2024, 11:15 a.m.
SB543 Revision: 41293 Date: March 20, 2024, 2:26 p.m.
SB543 Revision: 40340 Date: Dec. 14, 2023, 8:38 a.m.

Docket


April 12, 2024: Public Hearing: 04/24/2024 11:30 am LOB 201


April 10, 2024: Introduced (in recess of) 03/28/2024 and referred to Public Works and Highways HJ 11


April 5, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-1236s, MA, VV; OT3rdg; 04/05/2024; SJ 8


April 5, 2024: Committee Amendment # 2024-1236s, AA, VV; 04/05/2024; SJ 8


March 21, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-1236s, 04/05/2024; Vote 5-0; CC; SC 13


Feb. 21, 2024: Hearing: 03/05/2024, Room 103, SH, 09:45 am; SC 9


Dec. 14, 2023: To Be Introduced 01/03/2024 and Referred to Energy and Natural Resources; SJ 1