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.
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!
Chesapeake Bay Foundation