Dominion concedes its planned coal-fired power plant in Wise County won’t capture greenhouse gases
In a motion to the State Corporation Commission made earlier this week, Dominion Virginia concedes that its proposed 585-megawatt power plant in Wise County is not “carbon-capture compatible.” The motion was submitted by SCC staff, the Attorney General Office Division of Consumer Counsel, and Dominion.
Carbon dioxide is one of the leading causes of climate change. The proposed Wise County power plant would emit about 5.3 million tons per year for an expected lifespan of at least 50 years, the equivalent of adding almost 1 million cars to Virginia’s roads.
Under intense questioning at an SCC hearing last month, Dominion officials admitted that regulation of carbon dioxide is “inevitable.” In the motion this week to the SCC, Dominion now concedes its proposed plant in Wise County is not carbon-capture compatible. The SCC has not yet ruled on the motion and stipulation. Briefs from respondents, including the Southern Environmental Law Center, are due Friday, March 14. The SCC’s ruling is expected sometime next month.
“This confirms what we have been saying all along – that Dominion is failing to plan for pending federal laws on global warming,” said Cale Jaffe, SELC staff attorney. “If Dominion does not build this plant to capture greenhouse gases, ratepayers will be left holding the bag. Pollution credits for this one plant will cost Dominion’s customers in excess of $100 million a year.”
“Dominion continues to call this a ‘clean coal plant,’ which is like saying ‘healthy cigarettes.’ There is nothing clean about a project that would blow up mountains, destroy water quality, dump mercury and 12,500 tons of pollution in the air every year, and ignore the climate change crisis,” said Mike Tidwell with Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
“All eyes are on Governor Kaine. He has committed to reducing global warming pollution by 30% below business as usual by 2025. He can not support Dominion’s Wise County power plant and reach that goal,” said Glen Besa, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter.
“Dominion has told Virginians almost since Day 1 that this plant is carbon-capture compatible. Well, my driveway is Porsche compatible too, but that doesn’t mean I have one sitting in my driveway,” said Kathy Selvage of the Wise County-based Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. “Dominion has essentially conceded that the plant is not carbon-capture capable at the present time.”
“The reality of what Dominion wants to do is unacceptable to the public, so the company has been attempting to mislead people through its ads and public statements,” said Tom Cormons with Appalachian Voices. “Now some of the truth is coming out.”
In light of Dominion’s concession, the Wise Energy for Virginia coalition (CCAN, SELC, Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and Appalachian Voices) are calling on Governor Kaine to stick with his oft-repeated pledge to reduce greenhouse gases in the state and stop the Wise County plant.
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The mission of the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition is to stop Dominion Power’s proposed coal-burning power plant in Wise County and turn Virginia toward a cleaner, sustainable energy future.