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Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Power Plant Pollution Upgrade to Continue

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Sam Evans-Brown
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NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest utility says a US Supreme Court ruling which on mercury emissions won’t affect its plans to install pollution controls at its coal-burning plant in Portsmouth.

The ruling – which finds the EPA should have incorporated estimates of the cost of the proposed regulation earlier on in the process – comes after Eversource has already begun work on upgrades to the sixty six-year-old plant.

Thanks to a $420 million dollar scrubber, Eversource’s plant in Bow is already in compliance with the federal rule known as the MATS – or Mercury and Air Toxics Standard. But Schiller Station, in Portsmouth, is on a different schedule.

“Schiller was granted a one-year compliance extension by DES,” says Craig Wright, Director of Air Resources for DES, “They have until April of 2016 to meet the federal standards, and they are in the process of installing necessary controls to meet that standard.”

So while the Supreme Court sent the MATS rule back to a district court where it could possibly be rewritten, Seacoast residents will be getting cleaner air regardless. An Eversource spokesperson says the $2 million dollar upgrade is slated to be finished no later than next April.

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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