Recognize it for what it is: another tool for NIMBYs and BANANAs

This at the UL caught my eye with the title of Dave Solomon’s Power Plays: NH joins energy community rights network (emphasis mine, reformatted):

She says the idea of the Community Rights movement is not to eliminate state or federal authority to site needed energy, transportation or water projects if they are publicly sponsored and deemed necessary in the public interest by elected representatives. “We are not looking to override all preemption of local authority,” she said. “We understand that preemption is necessary for the public good when it is protecting public rights.”

But when corporations propose projects that have not met the test of public necessity, local control should prevail, she says. A new highway, a water reservoir or an electric reliability project are different from corporate-sponsored projects like Northern Pass or the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, according to Sanborn.

Yes, this is the group that has been sponsoring a number of warrant articles (here in NH, people or local boards can present items to be voted upon at either Town Meeting or ballot voting) that have tried to literally override the idea that towns and cities are mere sub-divisions of the State and can override statutes if the townfolk decide that is appropriate.  Now, I’m all for local control – it disrupts those that would centralized power away from citizens and make it more difficult for voters to complain and seek redress.  That is the essence of building “The Bigger the Government, the smaller the citizen” Administrative State.  However, I have a few problems with the statement above. And before I go off on tangents, the full post is below.

From the snippet above, I have a number of concerns as shown by the title (re: NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard], BANANA [Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything]).  What is being done lately, as in the information shows in the post, is to basically railroad any energy developments that are happening anywhere in NH.  In effect, and in a different fashion, these are environmentalists that have decided to put on new sheeps clothing in order to, in all honest, freeze development in their towns.

Let’s unpack and parse Michelle Sanborn’s words:

  • She says the idea of the Community Rights movement is not to eliminate state or federal authority to site needed energy, transportation or water projects…

Actually, that is EXACTLY what they want to do.  In previous things that I have read and on the news of various warrants the last few years, that is exactly what they want.  They believe that local control should be preeminent – and in a lot of things (e.g., local School Boards should not have to be overruled by a state level one), I agree.  But in a lot of things, with the small town (I’m talking REAL small towns: 234 towns and cities (the largest being about 100,000) in a state of 1.3 million people), one can get that Boss Hogg or “good old boys” network going on and one can easily get a modern feudalism going on – just ask Ed Naile at CNHT about this!

  • … if they are publicly sponsored and deemed necessary in the public interest by elected representatives. “We are not looking to override all preemption of local authority,” she said. “We understand that preemption is necessary for the public good when it is protecting public rights.”

So look at the combination that Sanborn puts up so smoothly – “IF they are publicly sponsored”.  That is what I keep seeing from Progressives and Socialists – “democratically controlled business”.  This translates to public control of private resources; another way of saying it is “controlling the means of production”.

Look, too, at the subtle change of focus – “it is protecting public rights” – not on the Individual but on the collective.  If I wanted to do some development or start a new business, or buy a good sized one and move it into town, these folks believe that they have the right to constrain my liberty to do so.  Now, take that to the extreme limit – where would the jobs come from?  Or rather, which state would they go to?

And then she goes even further:

  • But when corporations propose projects that have not met the test of public necessity, local control should prevail, she says. A new highway, a water reservoir or an electric reliability project are different from corporate-sponsored projects like Northern Pass or the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, according to Sanborn.

When I read that “test of public necessity“, all I could think of was the words of Bernie Sanders on the freedom of choice in the marketplace:

You can’t just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don’t think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on.

So how much different is what Sanborn is saying than what this dedicated hard-core Socialist said?  The Progressive / Socialist “tell” – YOU don’t need that!  Be it using one’s own property for one’s own devices (“happiness”) or having the freedom of a free marketplace to choose and obtain the item (yes, even deodorant)  that are of more value to you than what you give in return (the essence of free market capitalism)?

Nothing.  Oh sure, differences in price, purpose, and size, but the Principle is the same – I choose.  That is not being selfish or cold-hearted – only those that would want to control what you can choose say that with words that oppress you, that demonize you, that (as the Left says) “Others” you (even as they project the same of you).  Remember, the quantification of Freedom is the number of choices that you get to make and not those choices left to you after someone (or The State) first chooses what you can choose later.

The NH Community Rights Network simply codifies itself with different words – but make no doubt that its undergirding is collectivism.  Yes, it is The Royal We in determining that what makes you happy” – or what We will allow.  Yet, that’s not what’s in the Constitution (Article 2):

[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights – among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.

“…acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness” – the action of the NHCRN say that THEY should trump YOU.

Here in central NH, in Laconia, there was an old Victorian house that fell into disrepair.  The entrepreneur that bought the property erected a Dunkin’ Donuts on a goodly part of the property and let that Victorian house just sag.  Why not?  His property, his money; “protecting property” also should cover “not protecting” as well.

Well, the harridan that leads their Heritage Commission (and others) thought, spoke, and acted as if SHE (and the commission, and a number of Letter to the Editor writers) all believed that their “right” to be able to “collectively have” that building stand and renovated trumped the owner’s wishes and use of his money.  It was a veritable attack on his property rights.

Now, normally I would say “if you don’t like it, BUY IT YOURSELF!”.  Don’t demand other peoples’ money be used (tax monies) for purpose that just make you feel good about yourself.  So did they?  Well, they did get a time period from the owner for them to find investors – none ever showed up.  Yet, they still made it expensive for him to remove the building – in part, they “stole” his right to manage his own property because HISTORICAL!

I bring this up because it fits the NHCRN actual demand: you can’t do with your property what we don’t like.

This is the Land of the Free?

Full piece:

Dave Solomon’s Power Plays: NH joins energy community rights network
By DAVE SOLOMON

Their motto is “vis unita fortior,” loosely translated as “united strength is stronger.”New Hampshire Community Rights Network, formed largely in reaction to major energy projects proposed in the state, has a simple proposition: When it comes to pipelines, transmission towers or windmills, let the people decide.

They’ve convinced a group of lawmakers, including Senate Finance Chairman Jeanie Forrester, R-Wolfeboro, to introduce a constitutional amendment that would grant cities and towns veto power over large-scale infrastructure projects proposed by corporations. The measure was introduced in the House on Nov. 4 by Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Rindge.

Not surprisingly, the coalition consists mostly of communities in the state that would host a portion of the Northern Pass hydoelectric project, the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline or industrial-scale wind turbines. Ten of those communities have already passed local ordinances at town meetings granting themselves local control over such projects.

Now that Northern Pass and Kinder Morgan have officially applied for federal or state permits, and the state Site Evaluation Committee has agreed to rule on the second major wind project proposed for Antrim in the past three years, the initiative could not be better timed to draw public support.

Constitutional amendments are a long shot under any circumstances, and this one faces an uphill battle. Towns can pass ordinances, but whether they will carry the force of law beyond town boundaries remains to be seen. The notion that any town can stop a statewide project or even an interstate project raises innumerable legal and practical questions.

There’s no doubt the idea is popular in communities such as Sugar Hill, Easton, Alexandria and Plymouth, all of which have residents on the Community Rights Network Board of Directors. But will it pass muster in the Legislature, the courts and on a statewide ballot? Network President Michelle Sanborn of Alexandria certainly hopes so.

She says the idea of the Community Rights movement is not to eliminate state or federal authority to site needed energy, transportation or water projects if they are publicly sponsored and deemed necessary in the public interest by elected representatives.

“We are not looking to override all preemption of local authority,” she said. “We understand that preemption is necessary for the public good when it is protecting public rights.”

But when corporations propose projects that have not met the test of public necessity, local control should prevail, she says. A new highway, a water reservoir or an electric reliability project are different from corporate-sponsored projects like Northern Pass or the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, according to Sanborn.

A national movement

The New Hampshire group is part of a national campaign active in Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Oregon. So far in the Granite State, Barnstead, Nottingham, Sugar Hill, Easton, Plymouth, Grafton, Alexandria, Danbury, Hebron, and Atkinson have passed local control ordinances, and Barrington will have one on its town warrant in 2016.

The national slogan of the movement as it tries to attract new members is “Community Rights Over Corporate Power.” The underlying theme is that state and federal regulators pay lip service to public input, but don’t really take it seriously. While it’s unlikely that a town meeting will ever be able to legally trump a state or federally licensed project, the philosophy behind the Community Rights Network reveals a growing sense that state and federal licensing boards don’t really care about local opposition, and all the hearings are just for show.

“The purpose of their existence is not to protect the public; it is to permit projects, and they must issue a permit if the project (application) is complete and its details meet the requirements. The opposition doesn’t truly matter,” Sanborn said. “Do they have to consider it? Sure. Does it have any bearing on the end decision. No. The community does not have the authority to deny or overrule that decision once it comes down.”

At the end of an Oct. 10 letter to the Site Evaluation Committee regarding the Northern Pass application, Sanborn makes the case in no uncertain terms: “The people affected by this project must have the authority to make the final governing decision as to whether or not it moves forward.”

 

by Skip

Co-founder of GraniteGrok, my concern is around Individual Liberty and Freedom (and how Government is taking that away from us). My fight, from a Conservative (with small “L” libertarian leanings) and evangelical Christian perspective, is with the Progressives that are forcing a collectivized and secular humanistic future upon us. As TEA Party activist, citizen journalist (and pundit!), my goal is to use the New Media to advance the radical notions of America’s Founders back into our culture again.