State Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) addresses the crowd at last week's anti-veto rally in front of the State House in Concord. (STEVE BJERKLIE, NHTOA PHOTO)

CONCORD — Today, lawmakers in the House and Senate will be voting on whether to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of a Senate bill designed to save the state's six biomass power plants from closing.

SB 365, which has been championed by state Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), would provide a three-year subsidy to six biomass plants in New Hampshire. One — Pinetree Power — is in Tamworth, and provides 25 jobs and tax revenue to the town and state.

The Legislature will begin voting on the override of Sununu's veto of SB 365 at 11 a.m. in the state Senate. It will then vote on overriding Sununu's veto of SB 446, the so-called net metering bill, which was designed to encourage communities to pursue municipal projects that would generate up to 5 megawatts of renewable electricity.

If the overrides pass in the Senate, they will move to the House.

The actual biomass bill, SB 365, passed the House in May by a 225-108 vote, with an amendment. Days later, the Senate concurred by voice vote. 

The override vote would need two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Assuming all show up to vote, that would mean 16 votes in the 24-member Senate and 267 votes in the 400-member House.

Speaker of the House Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) said the two-thirds requirement is for lawmakers present and voting. Chandler said he doesn't think there's ever been perfect attendance for a vote.

Jasen Stock of the N.H. Timberland Owners Association, which joined Sen. Bradley in opposing Sununu's veto, and gathered 6,000 signatures on a petition to support the override, will be attending the session and has offered the Sun real-time coverage of the votes.

SB 365 proponents say if it isn't overridden, Sununu's veto of Bradley's bill will lead to a host of calamities, including a loss of 900 jobs state wide, a decline of forest health and a loss of private land that's now available for recreational activities like snowmobiling.

In July, Sununu told the Sun that he considered SB 365 to be a large subsidy for an unsustainable industry that would have to be paid for by ratepayers, including vulnerable elderly and low-income residents.


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