Thursday, December 13, 2007

Action Needed: Help Stop the Wise County Coal Power Plant!

The Blacksburg Town Council last night passed a resolution opposing the proposed coal-fired power plant Dominion Virginia Power wants to build in Wise County. Councils in Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Arlington are expected to vote on similar resolutions in the next few days.

But time is running out for you to have your say in the matter. The Virginia State Corporation Commission's (SCC) public comment period expires tomorrow night (Dec. 14) on both the Wise County power plant proposal and Dominion's request to build a huge new transmission line through Virginia. Tell the SCC right now to say no to both!

You can comment on the Wise County plant through the Chesapeake Climate Action Network's website. CCAN provides talking points for you, however you're also welcome to lift from my letter to the SCC:
I'm writing today to comment on case number PUE-2007-00066. I strongly urge you to deny Dominion Virginia Power's request to build a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County on both economic and environmental grounds.

As a Dominion ratepayer, I don't want them investing $1.6 billion in coal at a time when Congress is considering carbon constraint legislation, including one bill sponsored by our very own Sen. John Warner, that would make it much more expensive to burn fossil fuels. If we're locked into coal, my bill is going to go up.

In addition, Virginia is last in the nation in spending on efficiency and conservation. If we were spending wisely, we'd be investing in improving our usage, not expanding our capacity. And when we do need new facilities, we must look to clean, renewable energy.

The environmental impacts of the proposed plant are nothing short of staggering. At a time when scientists say we need to cut global carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, this plant would annually spew 5.4 million tons of new carbon dioxide emissions into the air. While Dominion is holding out hope for a future technological breakthrough on capturing and storing carbon, even then the cost of doing so may exceed $100 million each year.

The list of environmental impacts goes on and on. The plant would also emit more than 12,500 annually of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, the latter a cause of serious breathing problems for people with respiratory illnesses. The forest manager for North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest says the plant's 3,300 tons per year in sulfur dioxide emissions would violate the clean air act, which gives special protections to the adjacent 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness.

The proposed Wise County coal-fired power plant would be an economic and environmental disaster for the state of Virginia. I urge you to do everything in your power to block it.
As for the transmission line, you can submit comment quickly and easily through Virginia's Commitment. Please take the time right now to act on these critical issues!
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