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President Obama's Climate Action Plan Comes Home To N.H.

Steve Rhodes
/
Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s newly announced climate action plan could have impacts down the line for New Hampshire. The big headline for New Hampshire is that over the next two years the EPA will develop restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants.

“Power plants can still dump unlimited amount of carbon pollution into the air for free.” Obama told students assembled at Georgetown University, “That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

That raises questions for the state’s coal plants.

“They meet all current regulations and they’ll have to continue to meet any tighter emissions standards in the future,” says Public Service of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray.

Any stricter rules on carbon emissions could cause those plants to run less frequently making it harder for them to recoup their operating costs. Murray says regulators are still deciding on a plan for paying off a $422 million scrubber on their Bow that was completed in 2011 to mitigate mercury and sulfur emissions. New restrictions could complicate that effort.

And the political push-pull on the climate action plan has already begun. 

The Environmental Defense Fund will run ads in New Hampshire this summer. One features a crying baby on a respirator, as a voice over says, “Carbon pollution leads to more asthma attacks, don’t let congress block reasonable limits on climate change pollution.”

Meanwhile the New Hampshire chapter of the conservative Americans for Prosperity blasted the plan, which it claims will raise the price of electricity.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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