Friday, January 11, 2008

Friends, foes speak on coal-fired power plant in southwest Va.; county supervisors turn mute

Dominion Virginia Power's proposal to build a high-tech, coal-fired generating plant in southwestern Virginia brought about 150 opponents and supporters to Richmond to have their say before the State Corporation Commission.

The $1.6 billion, 585-megawatt facility would be built in Wise County, near St. Paul. Opponents argued the plant would pollute the air, while supporters claimed it would bring new jobs and economic development. Dominion has promised to use state-of-the-art measures to reduce carbon emissions for a cleaner burning of coal, reports The Associated Press. (Read more)

"It was a battle between conflicting ideas about what’s good for Wise County and the coalfields," reports Keith Strange of The Coalfield Progress, the county's main weekly newspaper. "While opponents of the plant greatly outnumbered the nearly 50 supporters, those in favor of the $1.86 billion plant included community leaders, politicos and economic development officials." (Read more, subscription required; for Strange's story about the opponents, click here)

But last night, the county Board of Supervisors failed to pass a measure reaffirming its support for the plant, reports Kathy Still of the Bristol Herald-Courier. "Not a single board member made a move to approve the document the board had seemed poised to adopt just last week in its work session," Still writes. Before the measure failed, about a dozen residents of Wise and Russell counties spoke against the plant, citing environmental concerns. Some scolded supervisors who had spoken in favor of the plant during the Corporation Commission meeting. The commission meets next month to consider the proposal. (Read more)

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