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“Mile-Long” Opposition to New Wise County Coal Plant

September 26, 2007

Richmond, VA – Virginia residents have kicked off a campaign to gather signatures on a mile-long petition to let an energy company know its plans for a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County are not welcome. Larry Bush, with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, says a new plant means more mountain-top removal coal mining in other parts of the state.

"It's going to further devastate our area, not to mention the pollution of our water and our air. I don't want my grandkids growing up in filth."

Those who oppose the plant also point out that the same company is under investigation in New York, accused of not disclosing financial risks in building new coal-burning facilities. Kathy Selvage, also with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, believes a new Virginia plant is not worth the environmental cost.

"I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if that coal-fired plant is built in Wise County, they will have to demolish more of our mountains to provide the fuel for the plant."

Pete Ramey is a retired coal miner who feels destructive mining practices should come to an end.

"I've always been hopeful that technology would come up with some way to use this resource without destroying where we live."

The company proposing the plant says it's designed to meet future electricity needs for the region. The groups putting together the petition say they prefer conservation and renewable energy development to building new coal plants.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA