The Sierra Club said June 11 that the residents of Eliot, Maine, voted that day, 906 to 560, to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate SO2 emissions coming over the state line from the coal-fired Schiller power plant in Portsmouth, N.H.
Earlier this year the Eliot town council voted to put the issue of filing a “Good Neighbor” petition (formally called a Clean Air Act section 126 petition) to a public vote, the club noted. Communities can file such a petition requesting that the EPA investigate cross-border and out-of-state sources of air pollution that pose a threat to public health in their community.
Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign, said: “The people of Eliot have spoken; Schiller should clean up its act. Clean air is a right no one should be denied and today’s vote is a victory for the town of Eliot and every family concerned about the air they breathe. When put to a vote, the right to clean air free of dangerous coal-fired pollution will always win out over corporate smoke and mirrors.”
Glen Brand, Director of Sierra Club’s Maine Chapter, said: “Today, the residents of Eliot sent a clear message that they want the dirty coal-burning Schiller power plant cleaned up. We look forward to the EPA’s findings and hope that it won’t be long before Eliot and the towns around it can breathe easy knowing that Schiller is no longer a threat to the children and families of southern Maine.”
A spokesperson for plant owner Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) was unavailable for comment on June 12. PSNH is a unit of Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU).
Said PSNH on its website about Schiller: “Schiller Station includes three 50-megawatt boilers, two of which can burn coal or oil, and one that was converted in 2006 to burn clean wood chips…. Schiller Station has undergone millions of dollars in environmental optimizations over the years, including the installation of electrostatic precipitators (to remove ash particles) and Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction equipment (to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions).”