In July of 2019, 350 New Hampshire joined the No Coal No Gas coalition aimed to shut down the coal-fired power plant in Bow, New Hampshire.
The Merrimack Generating Station in Bow, New Hampshire is the last major coal-fired power plant in New England without a shut down date. In just one hour, this plant emits as much carbon as the average American does in 26 years. If we have any chance of stopping the climate crisis, we cannot continue to burn coal. New Hampshire has the capacity for wind energy and solar energy.
On Saturday, September 28th as part of the Global Climate Strikes Week of Action, hundreds of people from across New England showed up at the plant. We stood in a baseball field across the street from the plant as we listened to speakers and participated in singing and chanting. The speakers talked about how our elected officials have failed us again and again by endorsing the proposed Granite Bridge Pipeline and by failing to sign onto the Green New Deal. They talked about the need for justice when this coal plant has lead to pollution in the Merrimack River and higher asthma rates for the community near the plant. They talked about the need to move to renewable energy before sea level rise puts the seacoast under water.
We got the attention of local and national news outlets and brought people together to unite against burning coal in New Hampshire. In the largest act of civil disobedience in New Hampshire since the protests at the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in the 70’s, 69 individuals were arrested for trespassing onto the coal plant’s property.
There was a large police presence, but the protesters were peaceful. At this stage, our leaders have failed to close dirty coal plants and the climate crisis is only getting worse. At this action, we took matters into our own hands to act on the climate crisis. We plan to continue to take action so that we may have a livable future.
Burning coal causes the climate crisis.
Shutting down the plant for 1 hour is equivalent to 26 years of personal emissions (from the average American).
We can’t go 100% renewable by 2030 if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible.
Fracked methane gas is just as bad as coal and cannot be a replacement for coal.
We don’t need coal in New England in order to meet our energy demands.
The coal plant received thousands of dollars in subsidies in order to stay open.
We pay the price of the climate crisis while the fossil fuel CEOs make billions of dollars.
The coal plant pollutes the Merrimack River and is currently being sued by Sierra Club and Conservation Law Foundation.
Native people can no longer fish or drink the water because of dams and heavy industry like the coal plant.
Emissions from the coal plant cause asthma, heart attacks, and death.
Building renewable energy infrastructure keeps jobs in New Hampshire.
Workers at the coal plant deserve just treatment in the transition away from fossil fuels.
We need politicians who will represent and protect us from the fossil fuel industry.
We must hold our elected officials accountable in order for them to hold corporations accountable.
We must vote for candidates who will champion climate justice and safety for us and for future generations.
We must vote out elected officials who have allowed for the presence of harmful energy production in our communities, like the coal plant in Bow and who continue to support fossil fuel expansion like the Granite Bridge Pipeline.
Why should the plant shut down?
In just one hour, this coal plant emits as much carbon into the atmosphere as the average person emits in 26 years of their life. Carbon is a pollutant and contributes to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which propel climate change. The carbon levels in the atmosphere today are already past an amount deemed “safe.”
What is “Clean Coal?”
“Clean coal” comes from clean coal technologies aimed to capture carbon from the atmosphere. The reality is that even capturing some of the carbon is inadequate to mitigate all the pollution that comes from coal. It does nothing to negate the problems with mountaintop removal where entire ecosystems are destroyed in order to extract coal. “Clean coal” is a lie and misconception aimed to fool people into thinking it is good for the environment. It is not.
What happens to the workers when the plant closes?
We are not members of the Union that represents the workers at the Merrimack Generating Station. When the plant sets a closing date, the union will know what is best for their workers and we will stand alongside them so they get the demands they ask for from the company.
Didn’t the plant get new scrubbers?
Yes. In 2012, the plant got scrubbers to reduce their mercury and sulfur output. These scrubbers did nothing to negate the large amount of carbon this plant puts off into the atmosphere.
Why are we shutting the plant down?
It is 2019 – we cannot afford to continue to burn coal if we are to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Here on the seacoast of New Hampshire, families and businesses are feeling the effects of the climate crisis in terms of flooding that has gotten continually worse. Across the world many low-income communities and communities of color are faced with the impacts of terrible storms, pollution, and inequities that have been exacerbated by the climate crisis. The owners of the plant are profiting off of the destruction of our land, air, and climate and we cannot continue business as usual.
New Hampshire has a history of stopping undesirable and unjust energy projects through grassroots activism. We are building our movement to stop the use of coal in New England.
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Ways to get involved:
Write a letter to the editor
Host a nonviolent direct action training or go to one near you
Attend an action
Volunteer a skill (social media, graphic design, you name it)
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Donate to Shut Down the Coal Plant
Can you help us reach our $5000 goal to end burning coal in New Hampshire?
The coal plant is harming our river, our people, and our climate. Help us get a shut down date and a just transition for the workers.
We have the renewable energy solutions that we need. With your support, we can end the burning of coal in New Hampshire and create the renewable energy future that we need in our communities.
We need your support for No Coal No Gas!