The Tyranny of Administrative (Green) Power in New Hampshire

by Steve MacDonald

Stop northern passBarry Brownstein, writing at the Foundation for Economic Education, outlines the problem and abuses of administrative power, right here in New Hampshire, summed up in his closing paragraph.

In New Hampshire, the absolute administrative power of the SEC—a power that poses an existential threat to the character and economic well-being of the state—is accepted as a given. Yet, the absolute power it exercises is unconstitutional and potentially tyrannical.

He’s referring to the state energy oligarchs who will decide things like Northern Pass, a project Brownstein reports exists primarily to help Massachusetts meet its green energy portfolio mandate with pricy hydropower from Canada.

New Hampshire is not exempt from the age-old scourge of mankind: the desire to get something for nothing. In New Hampshire, administrative power is the conduit for crony capitalists to take advantage of federal subsidies and state mandates for hydropower and wind power.

These subsidies and mandates relieve so-called green energy producers of the burden of meeting the needs of consumers. Then, not having to meet a market test of viability, proposed energy projects need only the permission of nine unelected members of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).

The point being that a couple of connected insiders will determine if Northern Pass will pass.

Did New Hampshire voters approve the Northern Pass? No. On the contrary, the towns in NH are virtually unanimous in opposition to the project and some towns have even raised non-tax money from residents to fight this project. NH towns can’t block the project even if the Northern Pass encroaches on their property and roads. New Hampshire is a Dillon’s Rule state; towns have limited home-rule rights under Dillon’s Rule. As for abutters to the Northern Pass project, NH courts have already ruled against their property rights bankrupting some businesses even before construction has begun.

I never really took a position on Northern Pass but if we’re talking about the corrosive power of an administrative state, you have to agree that this it that.

No matter how well-intentioned the members of the SEC are, they are not independent. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” wrote Upton Sinclair in his account of running for governor of California in 1934, I, Candidate for Governor.

Aint that the truth.


H/T – Thanks to a Reader for the link!

Leave a Comment

  • Radical Moderate

    No one is posting here which worries me.
    I can simplify it…If you agree with NH being the pass around girl at a party then don’t say anything.
    The problem must be that all the NH voters that care must be working to make ends meet or the rest are Progressives that want to see NH merge with MA.
    Or else they don’t read Granite Grok.
    PS…I still think you guys need to get on AM radio and advert on one of the NH billboards along I-93 SOUTH!!
    Just my opinion.

    • This post hasn’t been up long so maybe it’s too new, but I like your explanation. It’s very appropriate.

      As for the other stuff, we need money for that and we don’t have any. Yet.

      • Radical Moderate

        If I means anything, GG can count on it happening if I ever win powerball.

        • granitegrok

          Heh! Imagine what I’D do with it!

  • Mass? Wait…I thought the move was on to install a bazillion windmills, just off the shore from Camelot!
    Somebody have big plans for electric cars inside the loop?

    Mass Social Air conditioning to alleviate global warming?

    I hear there’s an extra Nuclear reactor lying around in NH, New In Box, Never Used.

    Be a SHAME if that really long string of Christmas lights got draped across all the NH trees, and “unexpectedly” the NAFTA deal blew out that first bulb in the string.

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