In a victory for clean air and common sense energy solutions, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) announced that it has stopped attempts to obtain the environmental permits necessary to construct a 1,500 megawatt coal-burning power plant in Surry County, the Cypress Creek Power Station, what would have been Virginia’s largest.
According to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative spokesman, David Hudgins, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) more rigorous environmental regulations were the primary reason behind the company’s decision to halt plans for eventual construction of the Cypress Creek Power Station.
However, as Hudgins also explained, the project may resume in the future if the outcome of an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the EPA’s new carbon emissions reductions standards for new power plants is sustained.
As usual, supporters of the power station cited the need for jobs and the additional tax revenue that the power station would have generated as arguments for Cypress Creek’s construction. And as usual, these arguments imply that coal plants are the only means of generating more jobs and tax revenue for Surry County.
The fact is, the argument regarding jobs and tax revenue lost by shuttering coal-burning power plants ignores the other options that are available to generate energy in Virginia as well as the adverse economic and health effects stemming from coal-burning power plants.
Saving lives and preserving the public welfare should also be goals shared by private companies, not just the government. This isn’t to say that private companies should run themselves into a financial pit. But when it comes to renewable energy, we’re talking about a financial investment that will see positive economic and human health returns in the near future.
Last I checked, that’s a good investment.