Virginia AV Office Opposing Surry’s Behemoth Coal Power Plant

By Mike McCoy

AV’s Virginia office is focused on preventing a behemoth of a coal plant from being permitted and built in the small town of Dendron, Virginia in the Hampton Roads area. Nine Virginia electric cooperatives are partnering in a 1500 megawatt coal plant that will have massive environmental impacts. The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) has started the permitting process, and before ODEC can move any further they must secure approval for the project from the “Local Governing Body” which in this case is the Dendron Town Council.

ODEC is trying hard to convince the Council as well as the town that this will provide jobs and not affect anyone’s health, but of course, a quick search of an EPA website debunks those claims. Appalachian Voices, along with the Wise Energy Coalition are spearheading educational and organizing efforts in the area.

Appalachian Voices is working with a new group, “The Coalition to Keep Surry Clean,” to reach out and grow the opposition. We hope to convince the Town Council that the coal plant is not the way to go.

In addition to gathering signatures and educating neighbors, we have purchased a few hundred “No Coal Plant” signs, pictured, to add visibility to our movement. Within a week 250 signs were placed in people’s yards, with 30 on Main Street. And how is this affecting the Town Council? The outlook is good.

Also, the Virginia office is welcoming a talented new intern, Jackie Pontious, who comes to us from Virginia Tech with a degree in Environmental Policy and Planning. She is doing research for possible legislation that would provide economic diversification in the coalfields as well as already providing critically needed help for our grassroots efforts across the Commonwealth.

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