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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

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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