Chesapeake News and Events
The Real 'War on Rural Maryland'

Isle of Wight: Coal Plant Is STILL Lousy Idea

That mega coal-fired power plant proposed for the little town of Dendron in Surry County, Va., is back in the news.
Last night, the board of supervisors in neighboring Isle of Wight County voted 3-2 to reaffirm the county's opposition to the massive plant, which if built by Old Dominion Electric Cooperate (ODEC) would be the largest coal-fired power plant in Virginia.

The vote stemmed from a resolution opposing the plant that the Isle of Wight board adopted last November. County elections that month, however, ousted two members of the board who opposed the power plant. Current Board Chairman Al Casteen wanted the resolution reconsidered by the new board and had a willing partner in newly elected board member Delores Darden, who made the motion to supplant the previous board’s resolution.

Surry County also had asked Isle of Wight to revisit the issue, and lobbyists working on behalf of ODEC had approached Isle of Wight board members as well.

But a strong showing of residents turned out last night to urge county officials not to reverse themselves. Speakers, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, noted the environmental, human health, and economic development threats posed by the plant. They also reminded the new board members that prior to last year’s resolution, Isle of Wight had asked Surry to require ODEC to conduct an independent assessment of the plant’s regional environmental and economic impacts before moving forward. Surry declined to do so. 

In fact, the Surry Board of Supervisors and the Dendron Town Council approved ODEC's rezoning requests to accommodate the plant in 2010. Dendron's action was later challenged in court by local citizens, and  last November a Surry County Circuit Court judge struck down the town's rezoning, ruling it was done in violation of state public notice laws.  
As a result of the judge’s ruling, ODEC is seeking another round of public hearings on its rezoning request to build the $6 billion 1,500 megawatt plant. The Surry Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Feb. 27, and Dendron Town Council will conduct a public hearing and vote on March 5.

Circle those dates on your calendar. It is rare that citizens have a second opportunity to let their local elected leaders know what they think about such a massive project that will impact the environment, public health, and economy of an entire region. Don’t let that opportunity pass!

Chuck Epes
Chesapeake Bay Foundation


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ODEC just doesn't get it. The local residents don't want this polluting, slobbering nightmare monstrosity that is being built in the middle of a small town not to satisfy a real need, but so they can turn a profit selling power to Northern Va. If they need power let them build a power plant up there. The local CO-OP customers will be paying for this nightmare fore generations because it won't be free. No fuel adjustment clause you just get to pay part of the $6 billion dollars to build it. Then you will pay for it in human healthcare costs as long as it runs. Why didn't jack reasoner and the rest of the ODEC board opt to build it in their neighborhood. Drive out to the former town of Clover and drive thru where downtown used to be and see what an ODEC power plant did to that town. Follow the money and see who really profited. Better still go to the website follow the money and see which Va. Politicians ODEC donated money to.

As one of those northern VA residents you mention, I agree with the fight against the new power plant and hope that the folks in Surrey County succeed. Human health issues with such a plant are significant (see Why isn't ODEC looking to the future and considering renewables?

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