Student Environmental Action Coalition fights against coal

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October 2, 2011

9:34 PM

The Student Environmental Action Coalition Surry Justice League gathered signatures on Moving Planet Day Saturday for a petition against the Surry coal-fired power plant.

The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) is proposing to build a coal-fired power plant in the town of Dendron, Surry County, located just across the river from Williamsburg. The main goal of the Surry Justice League is to prevent the plant’s construction, but the group is also focusing on informing the Williamsburg community and students of the legal fight currently taking place and the impact the coal power plant would have on the area.

“At the [College of] William and Mary level, our main goal is for [College President] Taylor Reveley and the Board of Visitors to say that they are officially opposed to the coal-power plant,” Surry Justice League member Sara Evers ’13 said.

The group is also concerned about the health impacts the plant could have on the Williamsburg community.
“All the pollution from the plant would come our way, since we are downwind from the plant,” Evers said. “This causes increased health risks and it will pollute our waterways.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a report claiming that the power plant would cause more than $200 million in annual health care costs. ODEC officials have rejected those claims.

“The report is inaccurate and misleading, and grossly misrepresents the potential environmental and public health impact,” David Hudgins, ODEC’s director of member and external relationss, said in a statement.
The size of the plant is another factor that troubles SEAC members.

“This would be the largest coal-fired plant, about three times larger than the largest [plant] and would produce 1500 megawatts,” Surry Justice League member Grace Hansen ‘12 said.

In addition to providing information about the proposed power plant, the event also promoted 350.org’s mission to lower carbon emissions and to promote environmental protection.

“We have drafted a letter of concern and now we want William and Mary to state their concern,” Hansen said. “We want to show the Board of Visitors how the students feel about the Coal Power Plant and we want to bring it to their attention. The most important thing the students can do to help is to sign the petition.”

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/petitions/william-and-mary-stop-the-surry-coal-plant.

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