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Biomass Subsidy Plan Will Go For Senate Vote Without Trash Incinerator Funding

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers working on subsidies for the state’s biomass energy industry have stripped funding for a trash incinerator in Concord from their latest proposal.

The Senate will vote this week on the plan, which is a version of a law passed last year.

That law is held up in an ongoing legal challenge. It would have made utilities buy more energy from struggling wood-burning power plants and the energy-producing Concord trash incinerator.

Now, lawmakers want to amend a different bill to have utilities charge ratepayers a little extra to subsidize these power plants directly – without actually buying any energy.

Some who support that idea urged lawmakers to take the trash incinerator out of the bill before it moves forward. They say the facility, run by Portsmouth-based Wheelabrator, is a major air polluter.

The latest version of the amendment says the subsidies should not go to solid waste incinerators.

This plan goes up for a vote in the Senate on Thursday. If it passes, the House would have to sign off on the amendment, too.

Governor Chris Sununu has opposed biomass subsidies in the past and sought to veto last year’s law, but was overridden by one vote in the House.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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