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Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) Clean Air Project, Merrimack Station

STATUS: In progress

TYPE: Coal

OPPOSITION: Stonyfield Farms, Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation

PROSPECTS: Likely

BACKGROUND:  In June 2006, the New Hampshire Legislature enacted RSA 125-0:11-18, et seq., the "Scrubber Law", which required the local utility to install a wet flue gas desulphurization system at the Merrimack Station coal power plant to control mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions from electric generating units MK1 and MK2. The Scrubber Law required the utility to install the Scrubber as expeditiously as possible based on the Legislature's determination that "[t]he installation of such technology is in the public interest of the citizens of New Hampshire and the customers of the affected sources." RSA 125-0:1 1,VI.

In June, 2007 the utility filed its application to install and operate the scrubber at an estimated cost of $457 million.  Public comments were solicited in December 2008, and a public hearing held in January 2009.  

Also in January, New Hampshire State Senate Bill 152 was introduced with support from Sierra Club and others, to cancel the scrubber project and close down the Merrimack Station coal plant.  On March 6, a group of special interest groups filed a Motion for Declaratory Ruling with the State Site Evaluation Committee (the "Committee") asking the Committee to find that the scrubber installation  required a special approval. On March 9, the permit application was approved. The Bill was defeated by the New Hampshire State Senate in April. The Motion was rejected on August 10, and a request for reconsideration denied in November.  Scrubber construction continues and is expected to be completed by 2013.

SOURCES: http://nuwnotes1.nu.com/apps/psnh/psnhnewsletter.nsf/0/5D14848CFD49B987852575530054D0A3 
http://psnhnews.com/latestnews.cfm?lnid=146
http://www.theunionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Senate+panel+recommends+killing+bill+that+would+block+scrubber&articleId=dfcca402-6bf0-4fe3-827c-16b88bac5a57
http://www.tjc10.com/pages/133_council_president_ed_foley.cfm
http://www.psnh.com/Templates/Content.aspx?id=4294967469&terms=merrimack%20station 
http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/apps/documents/psnh_findings_of_facts.pdf
http://www.nhsec.nh.gov/2009-01/documents/090916psnh_objection.pdf
http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/scrubber-construction-continues

LAST UPDATED:  November 29, 2010