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Protestors block train carrying coal to Bow, NH, power plant

  • Protestors block a train in Ayer, Mass., on Dec. 8. It is carrying coal toward the Merrimack Station power plant in Bow.

Concord Monitor
Published: 12/8/2019 10:36:22 PM
Modified: 12/8/2019 10:36:20 PM

BOW, N.H. — Climate activists blocked a train carrying coal to the Merrimack Station power plant in Bow this weekend, leading to a number of arrests.

Groups from the Climate Disobedience Center and 350NH said they blocked a train in Massachusetts carrying coal north for several hours — first in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday and then in Ayer, Mass., at about 4 a.m. Sunday, then on a railroad bridge over the Merrimack River in Hooksett, N.H., on Sunday afternoon.

They say that more than 16 people were arrested for trespassing on railroad territory during “peaceful” protests.

News reports said New Hampshire safety officials had a rescue boat in the Merrimack River in case anyone fell in the river, and a state police helicopter was on the scene in Hooksett.

Merrimack Station is the largest coal-fired power plant in New England that has no plans to close. Climate activists have long targeted coal because it emits the most greenhouse gas of any fuel; in August they dumped coal from the plant in front of the State House and in September they protested at the site itself.

The Bow plant, owned by investors, runs the equivalent of a few weeks a year, turning on during high-usage periods in winter when natural gas is diverted to heating and less available for power plants. It stays in business because it receives tens of millions of dollars in payments to guarantee it will be available when needed.

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