The proposed New Hampshire Community Rights State Constitutional Amendment, CACR19, has faced criticisms that community rights don’t exist, and that upholding these rights blindly blocks development. I respectfully refute these assertions.
The community’s right to local self-determination has existed prior to, throughout, and since our nation’s founding. Recognizing this right within our New Hampshire Constitution is necessary because, in New Hampshire, state preemption and Dillon’s Rule determine what happens in our communities. If a project approved by the regulatory system and validated by state law threatens the health, safety and welfare of a New Hampshire town, it creates a sacrifice zone of residents and ecosystems whose pleas against the project hold no effective weight.
Therein, Article 1 of the New Hampshire Constitution’s Bill of Rights declares that government of right originates from the people and is founded in consent. Article 2 declares that we have natural, essential and inherent rights. Article 10 declares that we have a right and duty to reform the old or establish new government: “The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” Therefore, resisting projects that would harm a community is not “tyranny of the majority” but lawful protection of inherent and inalienable rights affirmed in the Declaration of Independence and in our state Constitution. Supporters of these rights seek both robust economies and thriving, uncontaminated ecosystems. Crossing demographics of age and politics, they challenge and encourage industry to innovate projects that balance profit with protection of people and nature. To quote Institute of EoLonomics founder Dennis Weaver, “We don’t have to sacrifice a strong economy for a healthy environment.” To learn more about the NH Community Rights Network, visit www.nhcommunityrights.org. To learn more about the New Hampshire Community Rights Amendment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.