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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

VA residents oppose proposed Dominion Energy power plant

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Monday, February 19, 2024   

A proposed power plant in Chesterfield County is meeting with the ire of local residents.

Dominion Energy's Chesterfield Energy Reliability Center would be a gas-powered plant near the James River. However, residents are worried about the environmental and health effects of the plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports such plants can release numerous types of particulate matter linked to heart or lung diseases.

Jason Woodby, co-founder of the group Friends of Chesterfield, said it goes against the state's climate goals.

"This project is definitely not carbon-neutral," Woodby pointed out. "Methane produces a lot of greenhouse gases when you burn it. There's going to be lots of carbon dioxide coming out of this thing, 2.2 million tons per year of carbon dioxide from this plant alone."

The Virginia Clean Economy Act calls for Dominion to be 100% renewable electricity by 2045. Dominion Energy is waiting for the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors to approve or deny the company's permit. Woodby is hoping the project will not go any further but feels the board could go either way. If approved, construction would begin in 2025 and be completed by 2027.

Along with the pollution and proximity to Bellwood Elementary School, residents are also worried about potential rate increases. While Chesterfield County will pay for the plant financially and environmentally, it will not reap any of the power. Dominion said the plant will be used to handle data center growth in Northern Virginia.

Woodby argued there are better alternatives to the plant.

"Simple combustion turbines like this are costing about $123 per megawatt hour to produce energy," Woodby noted. "Whereas solar only costs about $33 per megawatt hour."

The plan for the plant is not entirely unexpected, since Dominion's Integrated Resource Plan calls for up to 9 gigawatts of gas-fired capacity, which means emissions from the Chesterfield plant would be equal to 470,000 gas cars on Virginia roads.


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