Television news coverage of the Climate Pilgrimage from WMUR.
BOW, N.H. — A group of mostly Quakers walked for seven days from Portsmouth’s Schiller power station to Merrimack Station in Bow to demonstrate against burning coal for energy.
The station is the last coal-burning power plant in New England without a shutdown date.
The group arrived at Merrimack Station at about 10 a.m. Saturday and held a prayer service. A portion of the group then split off to build a blockade on the train tracks to block more coal from arriving at the plant.
“That’s the path through which the coal enters. So the idea with the civil disobedience is to get in the way, to get between the place where the coal comes from and the place where it’s burned,” said Katherine Fisher, part of the group.
“Merrimack Station does not operate that frequently but when it does, it’s absolutely essential to keeping the lights on,” Eversource spokesperson, Martin Murray said.
Eversource has a settlement agreement with the state to sell off all their plants, including Merrimack Station. It doesn’t mean they’re shutting down, but Eversource will no longer own them.
Murray said other solutions are needed to power up the region.
“We have to as a region find new gas infrastructure because we’re so dependent on that fuel, and also embrace projects like northern pass that will diversify the energy mix in the region,” he said.
Murray added the Merrimack Station doesn’t just receive coal via train, but also has a coal inventory on site and has the capability to receive it by truck as well.
Meantime, the group said Saturday they’re ready to stay on-site.
“If the truth about climate change is really true and if the truth about the power of god to heal the world is really true then this is the action that we’re led to,” Fisher said.