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News and Articles

Really Small and Good Beer

By: Jason D. Reimers, Esq.

Once known as a “beer wasteland,” New Hampshire is making its mark in the world of good beer. Becoming the first state in the nation to license “nanobreweries” is part of the reason. Smaller than a microbrewery, a nanobrewery produces less than 2,000 barrels of beer annually. That’s equivalent to about 62,000 gallons, or not quite enough to fill one tanker truck. Compared with Anheuser-Busch, which produce more than 3 million barrels annually in Merrimack, 2,000 barrels of beer seems small. But, most nanobreweries actually produce less.

Before the nanobrewery law, the only way home brewers could sell their beers was with a beverage manufacturer’s license that costs $1,200. A nanobrewery license is only $240, and it permits a brewer to sell beer directly to bars, restaurants and stores, at farmers’ markets, and on-site to individuals.

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Mixing It Up With Farmers

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

Chances are, you’ve bought something directly from a farm in the past year.  Maybe you picked up eggs or soup bones at Sunnyfield Farm, cheese at Boggy Meadow Farm, or your produce through 1780 Farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.

There are more than 4,000 farms in New Hampshire, and the Monadnock Region has an especially bountiful crop of farms.  New Hampshire’s farms are national leaders in a couple of categories.  First, you may be surprised to learn that New Hampshire’s farms are ranked first in the country in the percentage of goods sold directly from the farm to the consumer. 

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Just Passing Through: Fracked Gas, the Northern Pass, and Tar Sands

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

With no east-west interstate and a wild northern section, New Hampshire has long been more of a destination than a pass-through state for human travelers. However, fossil fuels are passing through all the time. Several existing pipelines already carry natural gas and oil through New Hampshire, and many companies want to increase and diversify the fuels and electricity flowing through New Hampshire, most of which would be passing through on its way to somewhere else. These projects include the Northern Pass, a pipeline carrying Pennsylvanian natural gas, and pipelines carrying Canadian natural gas and tar sands oil.

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Don’t Fertilize the Lake

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

As I write this, my backyard has not yet come out from under the snow. When it does, it’s going to be brown and matted. It will eventually turn green, though I won’t spend any time fertilizing it. Weeds look as good as grass when mown. However, if you are someone who likes a grassy green lawn, you may be buying fertilizer soon. I have one request: read the instructions on the side of the fertilizer bag and then follow them. By doing that, you could keep dangerous algae blooms out of our favorite places to canoe, fish, and swim.

A couple months ago, I wrote a column about road salt and the harmful effects that road salt has on our wells and waterways. Road salt contains chloride and sodium. Too much chloride in a lake is toxic for aquatic life. Too much sodium in your well is bad for your health. There are parallels between road salt and fertilizer.

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A Few Tips on Participating in Planning and Zoning Hearings

Some proposed developments generate a lot of interest, and the planning and zoning board hearings considering those developments often are crowded and, sometimes, contentious. Often, landowners who abut a proposed development have concerns that the development will have an undesirable effect on the neighborhood or their property values. Recently in Dunbarton, neighbors voiced their concerns about a large chicken coop that a farmer wanted to build on his land, and proposed wind farms are guaranteed to draw a crowd. You Antrim readers know that! Whether it’s the light from Crotched Mountain’s night skiing in Francestown or a Dollar General store in Winchester, Jaffrey, or Swanzey, some proposed developments inspire people to speak up.

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A New Technique to Keep Farmland in Farming: Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV)

By: Amy Manzelli, Esq. and Carolyn Baldwin, Esq.

As interest in local and sustainable agriculture develops, organizations involved in agriculture and land conservation increasingly focus their efforts on preserving farmland. Keeping land in sustainable farming generates numerous environmental benefits, including carbon sequestration; rainwater and runoff storage, infiltration, and treatment; wildlife habitat, and more. The question arises: How to assure that preserved farmland remains actively farmed? One new technique: The Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value, or OPAV.

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Monadnock Leads the Way on Renewable Energy

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

There is a state law that requires electric utilities (such as Public Service Company of NH and Unitil) and competitive electricity suppliers to get a certain percentage of the electricity they distribute from renewable sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and biomass. If an electricity provider does not generate or purchase the requisite percentage of its electricity from renewable sources, the utility must make payments into a renewable energy fund that is administered by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The renewable energy fund, as its name suggests, is used to fund renewable energy projects. The PUC receives applications from a variety of entities who want to build or refurbish a renewable energy system. Recent applicants include small and large businesses, school districts, universities and municipalities.

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The Unleaded Loon

By: Jason D. Reimers, Esq.

Lead is toxic. To help prevent children from getting lead poisoning by ingesting paint chips, we banned lead paint. To keep lead out of the air we breathe, you can’t buy leaded gasoline like you used to. We have made significant progress in reducing human exposure to lead. We need to do the same for wildlife, because lead is just as toxic to animals as it is to humans.

Let’s start with our fishing tackle. If you fish like I fish, you lose sinkers, jigs, and hooks all the time (not to mention spending half the time untangling fishing line). Historically, a lot of fishing tackle has been made of lead. The lead fishing tackle that we lose ends up on the bottom of our lakes, and that is where birds like loons find it, ingest it, and become poisoned. Think about how many sinkers you have lost to the bottom of our lakes.

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Where All That Road Salt Ends Up

By: Jason Reimers, Esq.

There is a lot of salt on the roads this time of year. Salt reduces the freezing point of water, so it is useful for keeping our roads, parking lots, and sidewalks free of ice. Salt is also cheap, so we tend to use a lot of it. As New Englanders, we know that salt eats away at our cars, but we accept this as a trade-off for safe roads and sidewalks. Unfortunately, the adverse effects of salt are not limited to the rust on our cars. Salt is also really bad for lakes, rivers, and drinking water.

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