Despite New Hampshire’s Climate Leadership, Power Plants are Nation’s Biggest Polluters

Media Releases

Media Contacts
Madeline Page

Environment New Hampshire

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2013
Contact: Madeline Page, 520-661-5042, [email protected]

CONCORD, NH – As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy nears, a new report from Environment New Hampshire Research & Policy Center sheds light on the largest contributors to global warming pollution, power plants. Scientists predict that global warming will lead to even more frequent and severe extreme weather events like Sandy unless we act.

“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” said Environment New Hampshire’s Madeline Page. “In the Granite State, we haven’t ignored power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming.  Now we need the rest of the nation to follow our lead and tackle the problem by cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

In addition to severe weather events, warming temperatures also spell disaster for a state economy that relies heavily on fall and winter outdoor tourism. In New Hampshire, the ski industry alone makes up 8.6 percent, or $190 million, of direct tourist spending [1]. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), warming temperatures could leave only a single northeastern ski area as economically viable by the end of the century [2].

“Being a ski shop owner and an avid skier it’s very clear to me that our winters and snow patterns have changed,” said Tim Farmer, owner of local outdoor business S&W Sports. “If we don’t do something skiing in much of New Hampshire will be gone by the end of the century if not sooner.”

Environment New Hampshire Research and Policy Center’s new report, titled America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. The study illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from New Hampshire’s power sector and ranks the Granite State’s biggest carbon polluters.

Key findings from the report include:

  • In New Hampshire, the five most carbon-polluting power plants are Merrimack, Granite Ridge, EP Newington Energy LLC, Schiller, and Newington.
  • Overall, New Hampshire’s power plants produce as much carbon each year as 1.1 million cars.
  • America’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution, responsible for 40 percent of emissions nationwide.

This summer, President Obama directed EPA to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20th. Granite Staters have already submitted 14,856 public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

“I commend Environment New Hampshire for releasing this report it is very important that we get this message out there,” said City Council Member and Energy and Environment Committee Chair Rob Werner. “In addition to urging our representatives to support national standards it’s important to reduce our demand. In Concord we are making sure that our city is as efficient with its use of energy as it can possibly be.”

New Hampshire is one of nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a historic plan to cap carbon pollution from power plants in the northeast. Already, RGGI has generated to over $1 billion for investment in energy efficiency. Now, New Hampshire leaders are working to adopt stronger rules that will reduce carbon emissions 20 percent.
Environment New Hampshire Research and Policy Center calls on leaders like Senator Kelly Ayotte and Senator Jeanne Shaheen to join us in supporting limits on carbon pollution from power plants. New Hampshire’s success with RGGI means we have an obligation to lead on cutting global warming pollution. We simply cannot afford to wait for other states to act on climate, so it’s critical that Senators Ayotte and Shaheen step up and support federal action.