Despite what we know about the harmful effects of coal on our health, our economy, and our environment, old, inefficient coal plants still operate across New England and the rest of the nation. Though these plants are often hundreds of miles away from New England’s forests, they spew dangerous airborne pollutants that are transported by air currents and result in acid rain.
CLF has worked tirelessly to bring attention to this issue for the preservation of our forests. In 2006, CLF submitted comments on the draft resource management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest, which has suffered from critical acidification in its waters and forests because of polluted rainfall in the past few decades. CLF’s commentary highlighted the draft’s insufficient protections against the effects of acid rain, advocating more comprehensive measures to remedy the damage to the GMNF. CLF also hosted a symposium later that year on the ecological and economic impacts of acid rain on Northeastern forests in general, raising awareness on the issue even further.
CLF has been also fighting acid rain directly by going to one of its largest sources: the coal-powered plants that release sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Though the Clean Air Act has regulated the level of pollutants released by many of these plants, those plants built before 1970 have benefited from loopholes that CLF is now committed to closing. In 2011, CLF filed a citizen suit against the Public Service Company of New Hampshire for failing to obtain air permits for the Merrimack Station power plant. One of New England’s largest coal-fired power plants and polluters, Merrimack released over 3,414 tons of nitrogen oxide and 33,248 tons of sulfur dioxide in 2010, endangering both residents’ health and the environment around them. By taking a stand against such large-scale polluters, CLF is continuing to protect the forests that so many New Englanders cherish.
New England’s forests depend on a delicate balance of conditions for survival. CLF is committed to restoring that balance and preserving these natural spaces for the enjoyment of all.