By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Climate activists “removed” about 500 pounds of coal from the Merrimack Generating Station in Bow on Saturday afternoon with no one noticing and dumped some of the 16 buckets on the State House steps on Tuesday to protest the continued burning of coal.
Tuesday kicked off the campaign to close the plant, which activists with the Climate Disobedience Center say is the largest coal-fired power plant in New England without a shutdown date.
They called it “a principled action to remove coal” from the plant eschewing words such as stealing and trespassing and said so far there have been no repercussions.
Emma Schoenberg of the Climate Disobedience Center, said she and other activists walked on to the plant property on Saturday afternoon without permission and walked away with about 16 buckets of coal.
“We do not have the time to keep burning this planet,” Schoenberg said as the group prepared to dump some of the coal at the State House.
There were few onlookers as U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, was holding a news conference on health care and the ramifications of a Texas lawsuit that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also in front of the State House on North Main Street, at the same time.
“The fossil fuel industry and the coal industry continue to fuel the flames of what is happening on our planet,” Schoenberg continued. “It’s time to do what we need to do to take it into our own hands. Even if we have to remove the coal bucket by bucket, we are going to remove the fuel from the fire.”
Quincy Abramson, an organizer with New Hampshire Youth movement, lives in Dover now, but she grew up in Bow before graduating from the University of New Hampshire.
“I am so grateful that these people have taken action – Bow doesn’t deserve this, no one and nowhere does,” Abramson said. “We’ve seen that we can’t rely on elected leaders to ensure our and our planet’s safety, and so it’s up to us. That is why I ask the people of New England to join me in signing a pledge of resistance to continue the work.”
Tim DeChristopher, co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, said “With the global climate crisis having advanced this far without a dramatic change in US carbon emissions, we have a responsibility to remove this fuel from the fire. Indeed, it is now a necessity to take matters into our own hands and safely shut down this facility.”
“These coal ‘Diggers’ believe that it is immoral to suggest that an economic asset is in any way comparable with the human lives that are lost to coal,” according to a news release the group distributed.
The release also quoted Lila Korman Glaser of 350 New Hampshire Action: “On Saturday September 28th, following a week of climate action around the globe, hundreds of people from across New England will descend on the Merrimack Generating Station to end the burning of coal in NH.”
After the speeches, activists dumped five of the buckets of coal that were removed from the Merrimack Generating Station on the ground, saying they were laying the responsibility for ending coal in New England at the doorstep of the government.
The group then left, leaving the coal behind.
“We left it for the legislators,” said Jay O’Hara, co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center.