Protestors block train carrying coal to Bow power plant

  • Protestors block a train in Ayer, Mass., on Sunday. It is carrying coal toward Merrimack Station in Bow. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 12/8/2019 2:49:10 PM

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 say they blocked a train carrying coal north in Massachusetts for several hours, first in Worcester on Saturday and then in Ayer at about 4 a.m. Sunday, then on a railroad bridge over the Merrimack River in Hooksett 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, only 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.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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