House Republicans have introduced legislation that would change the name of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services from the Department of Environmental Protection. The agency, which turns 35 next year, has been opposed to the change.
HB 1452 received its first HearLast week, in the Houses Resources, Recreation and Development Committee. It would also allow the department to access private property in order to inspect the state’s private wells.
Merrimack Republican Representative Bill Boyd sponsored the legislation. He said that the section that addresses private wells was inspired by his concern about the department’s ability to manage. PFAS contaminationIn the state.
I believe there should be an expectation from DES that they will not be in a position to say that your well has a problem and that you need to fix it. He said that he believes there should be more enforcement capabilities.
Boyd stated that part of the enforcement should include tracking down the companies that produced the chemicals that contaminated water.
Boyd said that the name change is part the shift to give the department greater capabilities. He called the issue philosophical.
We cannot be given the task of dealing with environmental issues. The difference between environmental services or environmental protection is, I would suggest, the same as the distinction between may and shall. May allows you a little more freedom to do something; shall gives you the authority to do something, he said.
According to the Department of Environmental Services, protection is just one aspect of their mission.
When they established our agency, they wanted to do more than just protect the environment. They also wanted us reflect the service they want us provide to our citizens in the areas of public health and the environment.
The Department did not take a position on the portion of the bill that would allow it access to private lands for well water sampling. The commissioner said he doesn’t see a need for the agency having additional authority beyond what they have.