Dendron coal-fire plant gets OK

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DENDRON— The Dendron Town Council on Monday voted 6-0 in favor of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative building a coal-fired power plant — a project opposed by supervisors in Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

More than 200 attended the Dendron Council meeting — many opposed for environmental reasons — before a vote was taken close to midnight.

Supervisors in Isle of Wight and Southampton counties were asked to support the $6 million Cypress Creek Power Station in neighboring Surry County, which is expected to create 3,000 jobs to construct the plant over four years. Some 200 workers will be needed to operate the plant.

The Isle of Wight supervisors during their Feb. 16 meeting voted 3-2 against the facility as did the Southampton County supervisors by a 5-2 vote during their Feb. 27 meeting.

In Isle of Wight, Windsor District Supervisor Dee Dee Darden suggested approving a neutral resolution for the plant, which Smithfield District Supervisor Al Casteen favored.

Voting against supporting the plant were Carrsville District Supervisor Rex Alphin, Hardy District Supervisor JoAnn Hall and Newport District Supervisor Byron Bailey.

In Southampton County, opposed to the plant were Supervisor Dallas Jones from the Drewryville District, Ronnie West from the Berlin-Ivor District, Carl Faison from the Boykins District, Glenn Updike from the Newsoms District and Dr. Alan Edwards from the Jerusalem District.

Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter and Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips did not support a resolution opposing the plant.

“I just didn’t think it was the position of our board to take a stand on the issue,” Porter said. “I think people really opposed to it should go to the public hearing in that jurisdiction.”

Phillips noted that he didn’t feel he had enough information to vote one way or other.

“Ron West came up with the resolution to stand in opposition,” Phillips said. “I didn’t have enough information as to how it would affect Southampton County.”

Porter had noted during the discussion that the federal government has very stringent rules for operating plants.

“He thought they certainly wouldn’t build a plant that’s a major polluter,” Phillips said.

Faison supported the resolution out of concern for the negative effects on the environment.

“We need to explore it further,” he said.