My Children Don’t Want a Coal Plant on the Great Pee Dee River

Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state owned utility is planning to build a 1320 MW coal fired power plant on the banks of the Great Pee Dee River in southern Florence County. This will be the state’s 13th coal plant and it will emit every year over 10 million tons of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas, 3.5 thousand tons of smog causing nitrous oxide, 7.5 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide or toxic soot, 93 pounds of mercury that contaminates fish and the people that eat them and over 900 tons of particulate matter, tiny particles that cause lung and heart disease and even death. The proposed plant will use 10 thousand tons of coal every day, much of it coming from decapitated Appalachian Mountains.
Mary Edna Fraser flew and photographed the Great Pee Dee River to make this film, starting at the mouth near Georgetown, and past Bostick Landing, which is already cleared for the coal plant with some drainage pools in place. Along the way, there are abundant wetlands, small towns, abandoned rice fields, and all kinds of development, from marsh shacks to subdivisions, that would be polluted by the plant.
The Great Pee Dee is the lifeblood of its mud banks and nearby towns. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resource, in their Great Pee Dee Scenic River project, reports:
The fishing opportunities in the Great Pee Dee River and its connected lakes include largemouth bass, bluegill and other sunfish, crappie perch and catfish. The lower portion of the river also includes several saltwater species. A mercury advisory is in effect for largemouth bass and bowfin caught in the Great Pee Dee Scenic River.
The Great Pee Dee River is mostly bordered by floodplain forest. As a high quality wildlife habitat, it supports 120 species of fish, at least 25 rare plant species, several endangered and threatened species (including the American alligator, red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite), 17 species of duck (all but the wood duck are migratory visitors), a number of wading birds and fur bearing species, and typical South Carolina game species, such as white tail deer and turkey. Sandy shores and bars turn to tidal swamps below confluence with the Little Pee Dee River. Freshwater tidal marshes that were once the basis for antebellum rice plantations begin to displace the tidal swamp forest downriver. The river is a dynamic, producing blackwater lake-like channels cut off from the rich brown flowing river.

Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state owned utility is planning to build a 1320 MW coal fired power plant on the banks of the Great Pee Dee River in southern Florence County. This will be the state’s 13th coal plant and it will emit every year over 10 million tons of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas, 3.5 thousand tons of smog causing nitrous oxide, 7.5 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide or toxic soot, 93 pounds of mercury that contaminates fish and the people that eat them and over 900 tons of particulate matter, tiny particles that cause lung and heart disease and even death. The proposed plant will use 10 thousand tons of coal every day, much of it coming from decapitated Appalachian Mountains.

We want to protect surrounding habitats and communities of the Great Pee Dee River by protesting this old technology through the Coastal Conservation League.  This film has been submitted to the Second Annual Green Fair for inclusion in their “Music that Matters” contest to be shown in Marion Square Park.  Mary Edna wrote the lyrics and music, and performed the song at her studio with Dana Downs at the initial Delete Apathy event.

Mary Edna Fraser flew and photographed the Great Pee Dee River to make this film, starting at the mouth near Georgetown, and past Bostick Landing, which is already cleared for the coal plant with some drainage pools in place.  Southwings, a conservation organization that uses volunteer pilots and small aircraft to protect the natural resources and ecosystems of the Southeast, sponsored the flight.  Along the way, there are abundant wetlands, small towns, abandoned rice fields, and all kinds of development, from marsh shacks to subdivisions, that would be polluted by the intrusion of a coal plant.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resource, in their Great Pee Dee Scenic River project, reports:

The Great Pee Dee River is mostly bordered by floodplain forest. As a high quality wildlife habitat, it supports 120 species of fish, at least 25 rare plant species, several endangered and threatened species (including the American alligator, red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite), 17 species of duck (all but the wood duck are migratory visitors), a number of wading birds and fur bearing species, and typical South Carolina game species, such as white tail deer and turkey. Sandy shores and bars turn to tidal swamps below confluence with the Little Pee Dee River. Freshwater tidal marshes that were once the basis for antebellum rice plantations begin to displace the tidal swamp forest downriver. The river is a dynamic, producing blackwater lake-like channels cut off from the rich brown flowing river.

The fishing opportunities in the Great Pee Dee River and its connected lakes include largemouth bass, bluegill and other sunfish, crappie perch and catfish. The lower portion of the river also includes several saltwater species. A mercury advisory is in effect for largemouth bass and bowfin caught in the Great Pee Dee.

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2 Comments

  1. nancy vinson
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This is AWESOME!! Thank you Mary Edna for this great protest song and for all the work you do to educate folks on environmental issues.

  2. Posted August 21, 2009 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Some welcome coverage of an unwelcome issue in South Carolina:
    Federal Report: Mercury’s bite more toxic in S.C.

    The issue also made the New York Times:
    Mercury Found in Every Fish Tested, Scientists Say

    Thanks to Sammy Fretwell at The State and Cornelia Dean at the NY Times for writing these pertinent articles.

    Upcoming shows featuring my work protesting the coal plant on the Great Pee Dee River:

    Terraqueous Silks, Florence Museum of Art, Florence, SC, March – April 2010
    Our Expanding Oceans, McKissick Museum of Art, USC, Columbia, August 2010 – December 2010
    Our Expanding Oceans, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, June 2011 – December 2011

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  2. By Future generations have one less coal plant on August 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    […] Delete Apathy Delete Apathy is a venue for creative people to change the political climate of environmental and social policy. We hope to form a pattern for activism in your backyard. Delete Apathy is our signature for various events and includes choreographed dances, musical compositions, and other fine arts, planned for major universities and institutions. Skip to content « My Children Don’t Want a Coal Plant on the Great Pee Dee River […]

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