Environmental Groups Announce Lawsuit to Protect Merrimack River

CLF and Sierra Club to sue Eversource and Granite Shore Power for Clean Water Act violations

Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire

Merrimack Station. Photo via Flikr/PSNH.

November 2, 2018 (CONCORD, NH) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Sierra Club announced today that the groups plan to file a lawsuit against Granite Shore Power and Eversource for Clean Water Act violations at the Merrimack Station power plant. For decades, the plant has polluted the Merrimack River with heated wastewater that kills fish and fuels the growth of invasive species.

“Merrimack Station has been endangering the environment and the public’s health for decades,” said Tom Irwin, Vice President and Director of CLF New Hampshire. “Not only is this coal-burning plant damaging our climate, it has also dramatically undermined the health of one of our most iconic natural resources, the Merrimack River. It’s time for this damage to finally be addressed.”

Merrimack Station, located on the banks of the Merrimack River, is one of New England’s oldest and most polluting coal-fired power plants. The station draws about 287 million gallons of water per day from the river, heats that water as a result of its cooling process, and then discharges the water back into the river at temperatures that often exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The federal Clean Water Act defines heat as a pollutant, and water discharges are required to take the protection of indigenous wildlife into account.

“The Merrimack River is a major source of drinking water and recreation for our state,” said Catherine Corkery, New Hampshire Sierra Club Chapter Director. “While there’s been progress to clean up the river, the Merrimack Station coal plant has been polluting it for too long, turning back our progress. As the state’s largest polluter, the new owners of the power plant must be held accountable and follow the law to protect the health of our residents and the local wildlife.”

Click here for a copy of the filing.

CLF experts are available for further comment.