Isle of Wight board opposes proposed Surry power plant

Published 11:10 am Saturday, November 19, 2011

ISLE OF WIGHT—The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted 3-1 to oppose the construction of a coal-fired power plant in neighboring Surry County.

Supervisor JoAnn Hall voted with outgoing board members Stan Clark and Tom Wright to oppose Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s proposed multibillion-dollar facility near Dendron. Supervisor Al Casteen voted against the resolution, saying he still didn’t have enough information. He wanted to table the issue.

“We postponed this move in August because we felt it was premature,” Casteen said. “We still haven’t received enough information. I think we need to allow for more time.”

Supervisor Rex Alphin, who was elected on Nov. 8 to represent the Carrsville District, abstained, saying he didn’t have enough information to vote.

Residents who spoke were split on the issue.

John Seward, chairman of the Surry County Board of Supervisors, asked the board not to oppose the plant because “it’s a huge opportunity for the county.”

“We’re not asking you to endorse it; we’re asking you to not approve a resolution opposing it,” Seward said.

David Hudgins, ODEC director of member and external affairs, called the resolution premature and said that agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality would make the proper checks to the facility.

Carrollton resident Sharon Hart asked the board to oppose the facility, saying that coal plant emissions are among top contributors to ozone, smog, acid rain and fine article pollution.

She added that the plant could lead to increased respiratory problems for children and the elderly.

Carrsville resident Ben Rideout said the increased lead output from the plant would hurt the county’s cotton crop.