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N.H. Sees Drop In Toxic Emissions; PSNH Plant Big Driver

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA says that releases of toxic chemicals into the environment in New Hampshire were down in 2011. A big driver of the decline was environmental improvements to PSNH’s biggest coal-fired power plant.

Public Service Company’s Merrimack Station, in Bow, is still the biggest emitter of toxic chemical in the state: pumping out over 1.6 million pounds in 2011. That’s more than twice the next biggest source of emissions, PSNH’s Schiller station, on the seacoast. But those emissions were down nearly 40 percent from 2010.

The reason: 2011 was the year that PSNH installed a state of the art scrubber, reducing emissions and requiring the plant to be taken off-line for a substantial portion of the year. The scrubber cost PSNH $422 million dollars, and has been cited as one of the reasons that PSNH electrical rates are higher than its competitors.