The Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing on a new permit for PSNH’s coal-fired power plant in Bow.
The draft permit could force the utility to upgrade its cooling system to prevent fish kills.
The EPA says the Merrimack station power plant withdraws large quantities of water from the Merrimack River and returns it at much higher temperatures.
The agency says installing a more modern cooling system would reduce fish kills by 95-percent.
But it would also cost PSNH $112 million over a 20 year period.
Republican Representative Bill Ohm of Nashua says that’s too much.
“That’s $85 for every man woman and child in New Hampshire to prevent warm clean water from going into the Merrimack River.”
But the majority of people who spoke at the public hearing on the permit commended the EPA for the recommendation.
Rick Tuttle of Hooksett says he believes the high temperature of the water is killing wildlife.
“I’ve paddled that Hooksett pool many many times, I very rarely see much wildlife on that pool and I believe it’s simply because of the change in thermal.”
PSNH maintains that the operation of Merrimack Station is not harming the river environment.
The public comment period ends February 28th.