EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 14, 2012

NH to focus on water quality issues

Conservative groups voice concern on quality

(Continued)

Michael Licata, vice president for public policy with the Business and Industry Association, is involved with the planning of the Nov. 9 symposium and also serves on the governor’s commission.

“I absolutely don’t think they have anything to fear from the commission’s report,” Licata said.

The commission is taking a holistic approach to what the state can do to improve water quality and protect the resource, he said.

“The commission is not looking to dictate to people how they should use their water,” Licata said.

Licata suggests the commission will instead look at ways to enable communities to reach across their borders to manage and protect water in a cost-effective manner.

Look at the commission’s charge and you will see it a fairly broad one that calls for a vision for water in the future, he said.

Gilbert said the commission will acknowledge that tension exists between the rights of property owners and the public’s interest in water.

“We don’t have recommendations about how that gets resolved,” Gilbert said. “The issue needs to be thought about and thought about carefully. Those rights have to be protected, managed and preserved in a way that balances the long-term interests of the state as a whole.”

Top water experts to attend

The BIA symposium will hear from the state’s water division chief, Harry Stewart, and federal Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Curt Spaulding. Dana Bisbee, former state Enviromental Services commissioner, will discuss legal issues.

The symposium will look at infrastructure, development issues and concerns over the Great Bay Estuary.

There have been a lot of big concerns with water just below the surface, if you’ll pardon the pun, Licata said.

So the emerging conversation is timely, in his view.

“Hopefully, it is bringing this issue to the forefront,” Licata said.

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