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Eliot, ME Sends Petition Asking EPA To Monitor Schiller Station

The town of Eliot, Maine has submitted a petition to the EPA asking it to look in to pollution that drifts over state lines from New Hampshire power plants. The petition takes aim at Public Service of New Hampshire’s Schiller station, which has two coal-fired boilers in Portsmouth.

Normally such petitions are based on air quality monitoring data. No such monitoring has been conducted inside the town’s limits, but modeling done by the Sierra Club suggests when the plant runs at full power, it would exceed sulfur dioxide limits within the towns borders.

"This is what we think is happening on a computer," says Eliot Selectman Dutch Dunkelberger who says the town is basically telling the EPA, "can you now come in with your vast resources and expertise and validate [the model] or invalidate and tell us we don’t have a problem?"

Eliot officials have already requested that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection monitor air quality, but were told that any pollution in the town was a New Hampshire issue. The town of New Hampshire has a monitoring station on Peirce Island in Portsmouth, but activists in Eliot say the monitor is too far from Schiller station, and frequently is not downwind from the plant. 

The EPA now has 60 days to respond to the petition. 

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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