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Climate Activists Arrested Trying To Block Coal Train From Reaching N.H. Power Plant

Protesters flagged down the coal train to stop it and then occupied the tracks in Massachusetts early Sunday. (Courtesy of 350 New Hampshire Action)
Protesters flagged down the coal train to stop it and then occupied the tracks in Massachusetts early Sunday. (Courtesy of 350 New Hampshire Action)

More than 20 protesters were arrested Sunday trying to block a train from delivering coal to Merrimack Station power plant in Bow.

The climate activists who organized the blockades also marched on the plant at a demonstration in September, when dozens more were arrested.

Lila Kohrman-Glaser is an organizer with one of the protest groups, 350 New Hampshire Action. She says they want to end to the burning of planet-warming fossil fuels in the region.

"It is crucial that the actions that we take not be one-off actions,” she says. “They are part of a campaign, and we will continue until the power plant is taken offline once and for all."

Two people were charged with resisting arrest, as well as trespassing, after climbing a railway bridge on the coal train's route through Hooksett. (Courtesy of 350 New Hampshire Action)
Two people were charged with resisting arrest, as well as trespassing, after climbing a railway bridge on the coal train's route through Hooksett. (Courtesy of 350 New Hampshire Action)

She and about 100 others joined the protest Sunday, delaying the train at three different points along its route – in Worcester and Ayer, Massachusetts, and in Hooksett.

About two dozen people were arrested on misdemeanor trespassing charges.

Two who climbed a railway bridge in Hooksett and were removed by police are also charged with resisting arrest.

Kohrman-Glaser says their goal is to speed the region's transition to renewable energy.

"We have decided that we're not going to allow business as usual to proceed at the plant,” she says. “That means that we're not going to allow coal trains to arrive to Bow unhindered, and it means that we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that the plant cannot run."

Merrimack Station is New England's largest remaining coal-fired power plant that doesn't have a retirement date. It typically runs most when energy demand is at its peak.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was first published by New Hampshire Public Radio.

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