Problems at Seabrook nuclear plant?

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An October security inspection found three security issues at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will not reveal details of the problems, in order to protect the plant from would-be attackers.  However, the NRC said the security issues will be fixed and do not merit extra oversight.

Meanwhile the Seabrook plant continues to seek an operating license renewal, which would extend the life of the plant from 2030 to 2050. 

One main issue is holding up the license renewal: the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) causing small cracks in concrete at the facility.

The NRC maintains that the cracks do not currently threaten public safety. 

However, environmentalist groups insist that any defects in the concrete are cause for concern. 

Opponents to the license renewal will also no doubt make note of the new security violations. 

NextEra Energy, which owns the plant, is paying for specialized tests at the University of Texas to study the long-term effects of ASR.

Do you have an opinion on the license renewal for Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the nuclear power plant's application for license renewal.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Eagle Tribune.

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Stand up for the LFDA mission!
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The nonpartisan, nonprofit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) serves New Hampshire citizens by providing objective information about issues and candidates; promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, online and in person; and connecting citizens with their elected officials.

Show your support for our mission: join the LFDA community today! 

Membership is always free, and gives you posting privileges on our website.

Want to learn more about us first?  Visit our About Page to learn about our mission, our Issue pages to learn about hot topics in New Hampshire government, our Voter Resources section to learn about elected officials, or our Member Posts to see what fellow Granite Staters have to say.  And don't forget to like us on Facebook!

Commuter rail study complete

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On Thursday the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) released the results of a feasibility study for a southern New Hampshire commuter rail.

The study examined three rail options: a line connecting Nashua to Massachusetts, a line extending to Manchester, and a line extending all the way to Concord.

The "Nashua Minimum" option would be primarily funded by federal and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) contributions, leaving $4 million in additional costs each year. 

The "Manchester Regional" option would also be funded in large part by federal and MBTA contributions, leaving $7 million in additional costs each year. 

Lastly, the "Concord Intercity" option would get federal funds, but no MBTA contributions.  It would cost the state an additional $15 million each year.

The additional $4, $7, or $15 million each year could be funded through parking fees, vehicle registration fees, municipal contributions, lottery revenues, the state Energy Efficiency Fund, or some other state government source.

"We firmly believe that the options are clear: invest in passenger rail or choose the status quo and face the negative consequences associated with our young people fleeing the state while our existing population ages and in-migration continues to decline," said NHRTA chair Thomas Mahon.

Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon), the Republican choice for 2015 Speaker of the House, disagreed.

"It’s not an energy-efficient way to move people; not a good use of money; and it would create a state bureaucracy that requires more taxation to sustain," said O'Brien.

Do you support a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

Medical marijuana rules approved

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On Thursday a legislative panel approved regulations for New Hampshire's medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

The rules allow four medicinal marijuana dispensaries in four regions of the state: the seacoast, central New Hampshire, western New Hampshire, and the North Country.

The price of a patient's therapeutic cannabis identification card will be $50.

Although the legislative panel approved the regulations, one question remains: whether or not the dispensaries will pay property tax.

The medicinal marijuana law passed in 2013 requires that dispensaries be "not for profit."  That could potentially exempt dispensaries from property taxes.

Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), a member of the legislative panel, said he will look into filing legislation to make the dispensaries pay property taxes.

The medicinal marijuana law also requires the state to issue a license for the first dispensary by the end of January 2015.  That means the state has just two months for the license application process.

Do you have an opinion on the regulations for medicinal marijuana dispensaries?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE
to learn more about the debate over medicinal marijuana.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.


Aging population: an opportunity?

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On Tuesday stakeholders and elected officials from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont gathered to discuss the aging population in the region.

The three states have the oldest populations in the U.S.

There are many public policy challenges related to an aging population, such as a smaller labor pool and higher demand for state assistance.

However, the conference on Tuesday highlighted several opportunities in an aging population.  For example, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont could attract businesses that sell new medical technologies.  The states might also provide a testing ground for driverless cars.

"It's not all about the problems that will be created by the aging society, it's partly about how we actively reshape our society," said Charles Colgan, professor of public policy at the University of Southern Maine.

Do you think New Hampshire's aging population could be an asset?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the demographics shift in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

O'Brien nominated for Speaker

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On Tuesday the Republican House majority nominated Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) for Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) lost the nomination by just four votes. 

The Speaker is not officially elected until Organization Day, when the minority Democrats also vote.  In theory Chandler could work with the Democrats to edge out O'Brien on Organization Day, but Chandler said he would refuse any nomination.

In his comments to Republicans, O'Brien criticized Hassan and did not mention working with Democrats.  Chandler's comments emphasized a more cooperative approach.

However, several of O'Brien's supporters told the media O'Brien will be more inclusive in his second term as Speaker.

As Speaker in 2011 and 2012 O'Brien oversaw the passage of several significant bills, such as the business tax credit scholarship program for private and home school students.  However, his uncompromising leadership style inspired a member of his own party to sponsor a bill forbidding bullying in the Statehouse.

Do you think O'Brien is the right choice for Speaker?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

Problems at Seabrook nuclear plant?

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Commuter rail study complete

Medical marijuana rules approved

Aging population: an opportunity?

O'Brien nominated for Speaker

Political Tracker
 
Shea-Porter prepares to leave office

Foster's Daily Democrat — 11/24/2014

As he prepares to return in January as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, state Rep. Bill O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, is promising a more conciliatory tone, in contrast to the bellicose reputation he developed first time around.
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Medical marijuana dispensary proposed in Epping

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 11/24/2014

A medical marijuana dispensary has been proposed in Epping, New Hampshire, after the state passed a law allowing seriously ill residents to use marijuana to treat their illnesses.

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Delegation split on president's immigration move
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Issue Tracker
The Affordable Care Act and NH  
The Affordable Care Act and NH 

Ten percent of Medicare beneficiaries in NH are subject to hospital charges at Critical Access Hospitals that patients in the private insurance market are protected from. Sen. Ayotte says patients should be informed of the high cost of services at these hospitals.
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Prison Reform  
Prison Reform 

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has created the Focus Unit at the state prison in Berlin in order to treat inmates with mental health and substance abuse disorders by emphasizing the learning of coping skills and positive relationships.
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Northern Pass  
Northern Pass 

A lawsuit filed against the Northern Pass by the co-owners of Owl's Nest Resort and Golf Club in Thornton has been dismissed by a judge. The business owners said the news of the transmission line hurt their business, forcing them to declare bankruptcy.
Learn More About the Issue...

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Jonathan Dodge
This is a violation of the constitution, immigration laws, and opposes the majority of Americans. There is NOTHING about this that should be supported. It makes a mockery of every immigrant who has come into the country legally and worked hard for citizenship. It is a gross abuse of powers that he really doesn't have. No action like this can be tolerated if this country is to remain a free republic. He should and must be prosecuted for this violation of law!
Stephen D. Clark
Totally agree.

Congress isn't providing all the resources for mass deportations, so the executive branch is forced to pick and choose how the law is enforced. I think a reasonable choice has been made.
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