New Salem power plant wins final approval

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State energy officials on Thursday gave their final approval for the construction of a new natural gas power plant in Salem to replace a 63-year-old coal- and oil-fired facility scheduled for retirement this summer.

The approval came just two days after the New Jersey company building the new plant agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions annually to meet requirements of a state law aimed at combatting climate change. Footprint Power LLC, the plant’s developer, also agreed to shutter the facility by 2050.

The agreement resolved a court case filed by environmental advocates at the Conservation Law Foundation. They had challenged a preliminary approval for the new plant, arguing that regulators failed to sufficiently weighed the facility’s emissions in relation to the state’s pollution reduction goals.

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