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67 arrested at N.H. power plant protest

In a week of environmental activism around the world, nearly 70 protestors were arrested during a demonstration at power plant near New Hampshire’s capital Saturday, according to police.

Of a group of about 120 protesters, 67 were arrested for trespassing, a misdemeanor, outside Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H., between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., Bow police said in a statement.

No injuries or damage to property were reported, police said.

A New Hampshire-based environmental activist group that helped organize the event, 350 New Hampshire Action, called the demonstration the largest environmental protest in the state since anti-nuclear rallies 40 years ago.


The demonstration was attended by more than 300 protestors, including activists from Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine, according to Rebecca Beaulieu, a protest organizer with the 350 group.

“This action sends a message to the owners of the coal plant that it is unacceptable to profit off of the destruction of the climate,” the organization said in a statement.

The protesters that were arrested walked onto the grounds of the plant by following train tracks, according to organizers.

Merrimack Generation Station, as it is officially known, is a 482-megawatt power plant using two coal-fueled and two kerosene-fueled turbines, according to a website for Granite Shore Power, which operates the plant.

In a statement, the company criticized demonstrators, saying the “protest and trespassing was more about making a scene and breaking the law than about conveying an informed point of view.”

The company defended the environmental impact of the plant, noting that the plant’s carbon emissions dropped 85 percent between 2004 and 2016. “Merrimack runs a fraction of the amount it used to,” the company said.

“We share a commitment to environmental stewardship and demonstrate that daily through responsible operation and compliance with all state and federal permits,” the company said.

According to protesters, the Merrimack is the “last major coal-fire power plant in New England without a shutdown date.”


The Bow plant uses coal primarily “during periods of extreme intermittent demand” and to quickly produce energy to stabilize the grid, according to the plant’s website.

The last coal-fueled power plant in Massachusetts, the nearly 1,500-megawatt Brayton Point facility in Somerset, was closed in 2017 and was razed this year.

“Individuals in positions of power have failed to protect the climate and it is now up to ordinary people to make the changes necessary in the time we have left,” protest organizers said.

Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.