To speed the approval process of a proposed 1500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the small town of Dendron, Va., the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) and the pro-coal Surry County Board of Supervisors presented an ordinance to the Dendron Town Council to have the Surry County Board of Supervisors serve as a planning commission to “help the town with various studies,” “assist in expertise,” and make the ultimate decision on the plant’s approval.
But residents who learned of this proposition were hesitant to surrender their sovereignty to the Board of Supervisors.
With the help of community organizers from Appalachian Voices and the Wise Energy Coalition, citizens have led the fight for a locally-based planning commission, knocking on virtually every door in Dendron to ensure residents were aware of tthe decision.
When the ordinance came up for a vote, it was standing room only. By a 3-2 margin, ODEC’s ordinance was rejected. Instead, the town council vested itself with the legal power to make a decision on the plant.
The fight is not over, but Dendron has kept the ultimate decision in their hands.
Visit wiseenergyforvirginia.org for details on Appalachian Voices’ coalition-based work on this and other issues.