Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Va. coal plant gets near-final OK; activists arrested at N.C. plant that recently won expansion permit

For the past few months, we been watching the debate over Dominion Power's $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant proposed for southwestern Virginia's Wise County. That debate is almost over, since the State Corporation Commission approved the plant's construction plans on Wednesday, reports The Roanoke Times.

One hurdle remains, because "the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board has to issue a general air pollution control permit and another one addressing mercury emissions before construction can begin, said Bill Hayden, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Quality," The Times reports. "The board likely will address the issue at its May 22 meeting, but it's unclear whether members will take final action, said board Chairman Richard Langford." Opponents of the 585-megawatt plant said they had collected 30,000 signatures of people opposed to the plant and said more than 60 religious leaders in the state have come out against the proposal. (Read more)

The air board, in "an unusual move," voted 3-2 to take over the permitting process from the DEQ staff, noted The Coalfield Progress in Norton. "Hayden said the board expressed concerns that all options aren’t being addressed and DEQ’s proposed emissions limits aren’t stringent enough," reports Wise County's main newspaper. (Read more)

Meanwhile, in North Carolina yesterday, four protesters of an expansion of a Duke Energy power plant were arrested for chaining themselves to a construction equipment at the Cliffside Steam Station, reports Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer. "The protest was part of what the international Rising Tide network calls the 'Fossil Fools Day of Action,' which blames coal-fired power plants' carbon dioxide emissions for global warming," Henderson writes. "Four protesters chained themselves to construction equipment at Cliffside at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Abigail Singer of Rising Tide in Asheville. Critics have faulted Duke for advocating reduced carbon emissions while expanding the plant." (Read more)

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