SURRY COUNTY POWER PLANT
Battles Continue Over Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plant in Surry County
New CBF report—A Coal Plant's Drain on Health and Wealth—contends pollution from the proposed Surry plan could result in hundreds of asthma attacks, dozens of premature deaths, and millions of dollars in regional health care costs.
CBF Report Finds Surry Coal-Fired Power Plant would increase Mercury and Nitrogen pollution across Virginia.
Watch video: Residents protest over power plant emissions pollution.
See a map of Mercury impaired waters near the proposed site.
Did you know that eight of Virginia's 18 largest mercury polluters are concentrated within a 60-mile radius of the proposed ODEC plant? See the map (pdf)
Read the Army Corps' decision to conduct a full EIS.
Get the facts about the proposed Surry County Power Plant.
The fight over Old Dominion's proposed coal-fired power plant continues. If constructed, the emission of airborne pollutants from what would be Virginia's largest coal-fired power plant will cause a host of health and environmental problems throughout the Hampton Roads region. To date, three municipalities have voiced their support or opposition to the plant including Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties and the City of Williamsburg.
The latest skirmish in the fight over Old Dominion Electric Cooperative's (ODEC) proposed coal-fired power plant came on March 5 in the Town of Dendron. In November 2011, opponents experienced a significant victory when a Surry County circuit court judge threw out the rezoning and conditional-use permit the town had granted ODEC. The judge ruled the Town of Dendron violated state law by not giving proper public notice before the town council voted on zoning and other land-use changes required for the plant.
But in February, despite overwhelming community opposition to the plant, the Surry County Planning Commission voted 10-1 to recommend approval of rezoning that would allow the plant to be built. More than 200 citizens attended that meeting, most speaking in opposition of the plant. On March 5, after a properly publicized hearing, the Town of Dendron town council again voted in favor of the rezoning and land-use changes needed for the power plant. Once again, there was overwhelming public opposition to the changes.
Despite these setbacks, opponents have scored significant victories as well. Last November, in nearby Isle of Wight County concerned citizens compelled their board of supervisors to support a "Resolution of Opposition" to the plant. After election year changes to the board and hearing comments from citizens on February 16, the board of supervisors upheld that resolution.
Recently, the City of Williamsburg and Southampton County have also formally opposed the proposed plant.
ODEC needs to re-start its application process, which it put on hold in September 2010 citing the economic slowdown and an uncertain regulatory environment. Now the battle continues over the numerous state and federal permits required for construction. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) will continue to emphasize the plant's harmful impacts during ODEC's state and federal permitting process. In the interim, CBF continues to encourage other municipal and county governments to join Isle of Wight, Southampton, and Williamsburg in formal opposition to the proposed facility. This will further strengthen the voices of those who wish to protect the health of citizens, our waterways, and the seafood and tourism industries so vital to our region's economic success.
What You Can Do
Get involved in this important effort. If your local or county government has not yet taken a stand, contact them and ask that they follow the lead of Isle of Wight, Southampton, and Williamsburg in submitting a formal "Resolution in Opposition" to the proposed coal-fired power plant.
Why CBF Opposes the Proposed Coal Fired Power Plant
After a thorough review by CBF staff, the potential threats posed by the plant include wetlands impacts, pollution of local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, and probable health risks to Hampton Roads citizens.
Air modeling has shown, emissions from its smokestacks would add significant amounts of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Nitrogen emissions from the plant would undermine the focused effort Virginia and other Bay states have initiated to reduce pollution to local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, mercury, ozone and particulate (soot) pollution generated by the proposed facility would negatively impact human health and have the potential to impede economic growth in the Hampton Roads region.
CBF published a report in 2011 that concluded air pollution from the ODEC plant would cause 442 asthma attacks and 26 premature deaths a year, worsen ozone air pollution across the region, and add up to 44 pounds a year of toxic mercury pollution and 921 pounds of lead to the environment annually.
See the sidebar for more information and read our report, "A Coal Plant's Drain on Health and Wealth."
Photo credit: Tom Pelton/CBF Staff
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02.28.12 - Despite Cries of "No Coal Plant," County Votes Yes
02.18.12 - Isle of Wight: Coal Plant is STILL Lousy Idea
11.21.11 - Judge and County Side Against New Coal Power Plant
10.17.11 - Zoning Issue for Proposed Coal Plant is Tip of Iceberg
05.29.11 - Coal and Public Health: The Picture Isn't Pretty
05.29.11 - Calculating the Cost of Coal
05.23.11 - CBF Report Cites Human Health Threats, Negative Economic Impacts If Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plant Built
02.01.10 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation Urges Dendron to Deny O.D.E.C. Rezoning Request
01.22.10 - Bay Foundation Applauds Isle of Wight for Caution on Coal Plant