New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | July 16, 2019

Editorial: Charles City’s proposed power plant reminds us to do our research

By Andre Jones | June 25, 2019 11:53 pm

It didn’t take very long for me to get tagged in a social media post late last week.

A letter was sent out by an environmentalist to residents near the Roxbury area of Charles City. At hand was an issue about the proposed Chickahominy Power station that will be constructed in the area. In a brief summary, the letter said that the plant along with another one planned to be built in the area will be the source of major emissions into the atmosphere. The letter also said the residents were not notified of the process. The writer added that the plant would also emit nearly six million tons of carbon monoxide a year. A meeting conducted by the Air Board of Virginia approved the permit for the Chickahominy Power Station.

Tuesday night’s meeting of Charles City’s board of supervisors saw several citizens speak up on the issue. Residents questioned why the county would approve or notify a project that could result in hazardous air quality for residents in the area.

As I sat back and thought about this issue, I took a more realistic approach to this. Simply put I thought this; if the power station isn’t going to be built in Charles City, it will definitely be built somewhere.

The first thing I said in the post that I was tagged in was for people to do their research. I am not a scientist or environmentalist, but I do know that even though an item is being emitted into the atmosphere, there are regulations that are stringent enough to deter too many toxins in the air. In my observation from the letter from the environmentalist, while there is a report about of carbon monoxide that this plant could produce, there was no rebuttal evidence about how much will be created by the plant.

I bring this up because a few years ago, a study conducted on air quality revealed that Charles City was one of the most air polluted localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Many residents may ask how could this be? What the study didn’t reveal was the samples were taken on the James River across from the plant in Hopewell, meaning that those particles of pollution could have matriculated over into Charles City. That’s just one example on doing your research that I prefaced.

As I said earlier, the power station is going to be built somewhere. The question is do citizens want it to be constructed in Charles City? Personally, I’m tired of seeing the county operate on a $20 million budget every year. That means less money for schools, less money for the community, and will eventually result in increased taxes. Less money results in arguments between county entities on who gets what portion of the pie. If the power station does get constructed, it’s projected to bring at least $3 million more a year. That may not be much, but it’s some sort of relief.

I know my opinion on this isn’t a very popular one, but I wanted to shed some light on doing some research. Everybody’s entitled to believe what they want. Do I want a safe and breathable environment? Of course, I do. But I also want to see the county that I call home to stop arguing over funding among each other.

Right now, we can’t be beggars or choosers in what we bring to the county. This is just a decision where you have to weigh the pros and cons.