Future generations have one less coal plant

Rendition of proposed coal plant on Bostick Landing in Florence County, SC

Rendition of proposed coal plant on Bostick Landing in Florence County, SC

Aerial photograph by Mary Edna Fraser of Bostick Landing

Aerial photograph by Mary Edna Fraser of Bostick Landing

Santee Cooper has finally given up its $2.2 billion dollar coal-fired power plant by unanimous vote of its board. The Coastal Conservation League (CCL) has been fighting its construction for three years, alongside instrumental concerned citizens’ groups, Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) and SCsaysNO, and the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

Mary Edna Fraser flew and photographed the Great Pee Dee River to accompany her protest song, My Children Don’t Want a Coal Plant. The song was initially performed with Dana Downs at Delete Apathy, an art event in support of the CCL. Over 200 who attended heard the song then and the video of her song has had over 450 views on Youtube to date. We are excited to see this example of activism producing action and want to congratulate everyone who has worked hard to see this result!

Conservation Voters of South Carolina provides an excellent summary of this issue in their article Board nixes $2.2 billion coal plant.

The CCL, in a August 25th letter by Ben Moore, its Energy and Climate Program Director, cited concerns about construction of the plant such as “reduced overall demand for power, worsening mercury pollution in the state’s waterways, pending federal legislation to protect the climate from coal plant emissions, and proven power alternatives such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.” We are overjoyed that Santee Cooper has rejected this old technology.

Lonnie Carter, president and CEO of Santee Cooper, published his explanation of their vote in his Post and Courier article Santee Cooper responding to changed needs on August 25, 2009. Although the plant’s contribution of mercury and other toxins to the environment are not cited as reasons for abandoning this project in his article, many economic reasons are stated. Included is the unknowable and possibly tremendous price of squaring up current technologies with pending federal “cap and trade” legislation. Carter states: “The American Clean Energy and Security Act calls for carbon capture and sequestration technology to be placed on new power plants by 2025, and there currently exists no technology to do that.” We support this legislation as a tool for reducing toxins in the environment that may contribute to climate change, toxins that are surely poisoning ecosystems, and their inhabitants, all over the world.

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