Fertilizer Industry Lobby Points Finger at the Chesapeake Bay Oyster
Efforts to Control Suburban Sprawl Spark Fierce Backlash in Southern Maryland

Norfolk Councilmembers Stand Against Coal Plant

Kudos to Norfolk City Councilmembers Tommy Smigiel, Andy Protogyrou, Barclay Winn, and Theresa Whibley, who put the health and well-being of Norfolk citizens ahead of corporate influence and political pressure.

SmigielAt a meeting of the Norfolk City Council this week, the four voted in favor of a city resolution formally opposing a mega coal-fired power plant proposed in nearby Surry County. This despite considerable lobbying pressure from power plant supporters to dissuade the city from taking a position on the controversial project.

In the end, the resolution opposing the plant failed to win a majority of votes. AnWhibley alternative resolution was adopted stating Norfolk is “provisionally opposed” because of a host of health, environmental, and economic concerns. The approved resolution suggests the city will revisit the issue after additional study and perhaps remove the “provisional” language.

ProtogyrouIf built, the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) plant would be the largest coal-burning power plant in Virginia and would add millions of pounds of additional pollution to Hampton Roads air and waterways. Numerous local health organizations, environmental groups, nearby localities, and hundreds of citizens oppose the plant because of its threats to air and water quality, public health, the Chesapeake Bay, and Hampton Roads’ future economic development.

Opponents include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). The ODEC plant will dump nearly 2 million more pounds of nitrogen a year into an already nitrogen-polluted BayWinn system -- additional pollution currently unaccounted for in the Bay pollution limits and that will undercut Virginia’s efforts to restore the Bay. Instead, CBF advocates for less environmentally damaging alternatives to the power plant, such as energy conservation and development of more sustainable “green” energy resources, to provide for the region’s future electricity needs.

Still, the stance Norfolk, the second most-populated locality in Hampton Roads, has taken in provisional opposition sends a strong message that the proposed ODEC plant poses very serious threats to the region. CBF commends Norfolk City Council for acknowledging these threats and for its commitment to complete an efficient and thorough analysis of the risks to drinking water, air quality, and public health.

Read more about the Norfolk resolution in the Virginian-Pilot here and here.

InsetIf you live in the Hampton Roads, CBF encourages you to contact your local elected officials and urge them to oppose this plant. In addition to Norfolk, other localities in the region that have opposed the project or expressed serious concerns include Isle of Wight and Southampton counties and the City of Williamsburg. If you care about clean air and clean water, add your locality to the list.

Chuck Epes
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Photos: Top iStock; Norfolk City Council (top to bottom): Tommy Smigiel, Theresa Whibley, Andy Protogyrou, Barclay Winn



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Kudos to the four councilmembers for not caving to the political pressure of N&S.

Having spent years in chemistry class and learning about organic and inorganic chemical structure, students painfully learn that once a chemical bond is created, it is there for life. No scrubbers, or double landfill liners shield it from our lives. It will NEVER go away.

Ever tried to pick up a dollop of mercury? Hopefully you have not. But, it's pretty darn impossible! It cannot be contained and is one of the deadliest compounds known to man. It destroys the central nervous system, particularly for the developing brains of the next generation.

When coal plant proponents say 'this scrubber is the best,' don't believe them. Unless a scrubber filters 100% of waste, it's a farce. Even if it were possible, which it is not, then what do you do with the scrubber debris? Bury it in the ground to contaminate our water? Lace our drinking water with mercury, creating more developmental issues for the next generation? I think this debate is too civilized.

We need to start showing pictures of children with severe autism, COPD, cancer, etc. The unmistakable image of the children with Minimata Disease "mercury poisoning" in Japan during WWII. One accident at a coal plant, the same could happen.

I am sensitive to the economic struggles we all face, but it cannot be resolved at the expense of the next generation. That would be a sin in the eyes of the Lord.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)