Needed electricity? Good jobs? Economic growth in a struggling area of Virginia?
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s proposed Cypress Creek Power Station in Dendron, Va., would accomplish all those good things. According to ODEC’s thorough website for the project, www.cypresscreekpowerstation.com (and fact sheet), the project entails constructing a one- or two-unit base load electric generation facility yielding 750 MW to 1,500 MW of power by 2016. Peak construction would put more than 2,000 people to work, and permanent operations would require 200 full-time employees, with potentially 160 being local hires.
The plant would be fueled by coal and biomass, i.e., wood waste. Of course, coal invites reactive opposition — but mostly from outside the immediate region. (Driving through that part of Southeastern Virginia last weekend, we saw many more signs supporting the plant than opposing.)
The Smithfield Times covered the Surry County Planning Commission’s five-hour hearing Monday, leading the week’s paper with the story, “Marathon hearing on coal plant“:
Many of the plant’s outspoken opponents were from outside Surry County. A sizeable number were students at The College of William and Mary and environmentalists with groups such as the Sierra Club.
Some plant supporters complained about the high number of non-Surry residents at the meeting.
“I’m sick and tired of outsiders coming in here and telling us what to do,” Surry resident Barbara Seward said.
She and other supporters said that the environmental and health risks were being exaggerated, that they trusted ODEC to be a good corporate citizen, and that the community in a time of economic hardship.
Of course, you don’t have to be a local resident to exercise your First Amendment rights, but the outside opposition still seems arrogant and elitist. Critics show no sensitivity to important “environmental justice” issues.
You know, “environmental justice?” It’s usually the rallying cry of those who claim businesses construct operations in poor or minority communities to exploit the communities’ powerlessness. It’s divisive class warfare, often part of a shakedown for government largess, and unfortunately given a federal imprimatur going back to the George H.W. Bush Administration in 1992 and most lately reaffirmed by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency. But since the slogan is what counts for argumentation these days …
- It’s a just cause to support jobs, strong communities and the supply of reliable baseload electricity.
- OEDC is not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, meeting the public’s demand for power.
- We know the Sierra Club’s goal is a world with no coal, making electricity more expensive and hurting low-income ratepayers.
- But who in the hell do the pampered kids at William and Mary think they are?
The conclusion is clear: It’s the supporters of the Cypress Creek Power Station who have “environmental justice” on their side.
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