Knocking on the Door of NH DES

To the Editor:

An Open Letter on Wetlands Permit

Re: NHDES file number: 2020-02239

Greetings Commissioner Scott, Director Wimsatt, Assistant Director Pelletier, Ms. Giallongo and Mr. Price,

I continually circle back to ponder why my neighbors and I cannot get a dialog with our DES regulators in the awful struggle around the Wetlands Permit for the Dalton dump project. Our future literally depends on you in your privileged roles, roles that are designed to SERVE THE PEOPLE of NH. You have solicited our comments and those of our local conservation commissions over many months now. You have heard our carefully considered and researched thoughts, many gleaned at our personal expense with NH’s top legal, wetlands and hydrogeology specialists.

We continue to believe we are bringing you solid evidence that: (1) there is no need for another commercial dump in NH for NH trash; and (2) building an enormous facility in Dalton will imperil every fundamental aspect of our lives—clean air, clean water, public health and safe communities. (Not to mention the many downstate communities that will see numerous tankers carrying tens of thousands of gallons of leachate daily, an increasingly polluted Merrimack River with recreational and drinking water threats, and the doom of NH’s sterling reputation as a top vacation destination. Whoa!)

Despite our worthy testimony, you at DES are silent and have not engaged with us, even as our legal counsel and community friends have respectfully requested meetings with you. Instead, you engage and meet regularly and privately with a corporation that is determined to ruin our environment, livelihoods, and peace of mind. And we have trouble even getting timely notes from those meetings. How about equal time IN DISCUSSION with those who’s lives hang in the balance in your decisions?

Until DES discusses our comments honestly WITH US, we are excluded from participating in our future. We have viable suggestions, problem solving skills and a willingness to work with you and the state to solve our long neglected solid waste management crisis. In excluding us, the agency seems to advocate an ongoing partnership with Casella, an out-of-state company that has proven arrogant and disastrous in Bethlehem and promises a much larger disaster in Dalton. Your decisions mustn’t lock NH in for another 100 years of crisis management with a company bent on their profit margin to the permanent detriment of life in the north country and beyond.

Please sit down and talk to a group of us privately as concerned citizens—or in a public setting—and ANSWER our earnest questions. We deserve that. Otherwise, we are simply collateral damage, enduring disrespectful lip service from DES.

Please respond to my letter—and without being disparaging and disingenuous. You have to know that concerned citizens have seen a lot of that treatment ever since the first hint of test wells in Dalton in September 2018. We deserve better. You can do better. Let’s talk.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sarah Doucette

Whitefield, N. H.

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(1) comment

Jon Swan

Well said, Sarah! The same could apply to Governor Sununu!

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