A Coal Plant’s Drain on Health and Wealth

CBF Reports on ODEC Coal Plant Report by Chesapeake Bay Foundation, May 2011

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation usually issues reports on the health of the Bay, not on Coal Plants.  But the Surry Coal Plant proposed by the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, ODEC, would have a huge affect on the health of the Bay and on the health and economy of the entire Tidewater region.  This report documents the illnesses, premature deaths, health-related costs, and pollution that would arise from a 1500 megawatt coal-fired power plant in the Hampton Roads area.

The report concludes the following:

The ODEC power company claims that building the Cypress Creek Power Station would bring jobs and prosperity.  In reality, it would bring something quite different.  The microscopic soot particles released by the burning of coal would trigger heart attacks, premature deaths, and hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills.  The ozone would make it harder for the region to meet federal air-pollution standards, and could reduce the availability of federal funds for road construction.  The building of an ash landfill in a flood zone would carry the risk of tainting the Blackwater River and drinking water supplies with toxic metals.  The mercury floating from the Plant’s smokestacks would contaminate fish and cause mental disabilities in children.  The greenhouse gases would add to the global problem of sea-level rise, which already threatens Hampton Roads and many other coastal communities.  

In short, constructing the ODEC coal-fired power plant would carry a bill of illness, death, and environmental harm that the people of the Chesapeake Bay region should not be forced to pay.

Please read the full report with maps, photographs, and interviews.

And read the ODEC response to the CBF report.