$500m scrubber project put on hold

CONCORD – The state has put a hold on plans to spend almost a half-billion dollars on a scrubber for the Merrimack Station power station in Bow, following arguments from environmentalists and others that it does not make financial sense.

On Monday, the Public Utilities Commission issued a terse statement that it “has determined to suspend its decision . . . pending further consideration of the issues raised in the motions.” No further meeting has been scheduled on the matter.

The scrubber and related wastewater treatment plant is designed to greatly curtail mercury and sulfur released by the coal-burning plant, which produces about a third of Public Service of New Hampshire’s electricity. That cleanup is mandated by a state law, but the scrubber’s price has doubled, leading some to argue that it no longer a good use of money.

PSNH had planned to begin work on the project Nov. 3.