January 22, 2010
Bay Foundation Applauds
Isle Of Wight For Caution on Coal Plant
County To Send Letter To Surry, Dendron Calling For More Study
(ISLE OF WIGHT, VA)–The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds a decision by the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors last night to send a letter to neighboring Surry County and the Town of Dendron voicing serious concerns about a giant coal-fired power plant proposed by the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC).
"By asking hard questions about this environmentally detrimental project, the Isle of Wight board is demanding accountability from its neighbors and seeking to protect the welfare of its citizens," said Chris Moore, CBF's Hampton Roads science advocate. "If built, the ODEC plant will be the largest coal-fired power plant in Virginia; it will have regional impacts. The board is to be commended for its diligence."
The Isle of Wight board's unanimous decision to raise its concerns to Surry and Dendron came after a board discussion about the potential environmental, human health, and economic impacts of the proposed plant, to be sited on 1,400 acres in Dendron and Surry. According to ODEC's permit applications on file with Virginia environmental officials, the plant would send millions of pounds of polluting nitrogen, sulfur, soot, and carbon dioxide annually into the atmosphere of the Hampton Roads region. The proposed plant also would emit 118 pounds of airborne mercury each year, adding still more of the toxic pollutant to already contaminated rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Mercury is toxic to humans, especially fetuses and young children, and can cause permanent neurological harm.
"Air pollution is water pollution," said Moore. "The air pollution from this plant will not only affect our breathing but also our fishing and our swimming."
Isle of Wight Supervisor Stan Clark said citizens should expect the "highest levels of pollution control" from ODEC. He said the county's letter will ask Surry and Dendron to halt further action on the proposed plant and seek $150,000 from ODEC to perform independent studies to determine the plant’s likely environmental and human health impacts.
Late last year, the Surry County Planning Commission recommended approval of the plant to the Surry Board of Supervisors and Dendron Town Council, which have scheduled public hearings for next month.
Find out more about the proposed power plant, including a map of mercury-impaired waters and CBF's report on increased pollution.