Letter: Protect N.H. Treasures

To the Editor:

When people think of New Hampshire, they picture hiking our beautiful White Mountains, fishing from Lake Umbagog and paddling down the Connecticut River. The continued protection of these treasured places is crucial to preserving New Hampshire’s environment, economy and history.

We cannot take these spaces for granted. Overdevelopment and pollution threaten parks across the state. Fortunately, nearly 50 years ago, Congress set up the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect our parks against these threats. However, unless Congress acts now, the program will run out of funding in late March.

We cannot let this happen. The fund has supported more than 600 projects in our state and provided nearly $40 million to protect our most treasured areas. And according to a UNH study, 81 percent of residents support using public money for preservation. Since the fund doesn’t use a single taxpayer dollar, but instead comes from a tax on offshore drilling by oil and natural gas companies, the answer is clear.

Environment New Hampshire has resolved to protect the White Mountains and secure full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I applaud Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for co-authoring a letter urging her Senate colleagues to support this effort, and I look forward to working with newly elected congresswomen Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter in the new year to give our parks the protection they deserve.

Victoria Tersigni

Intern, Environment New Hampshire