Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I Fight

Why-I-Fight Fridays -- A glimpse into what's keeping me fighting this fight.

What keeps you fighting? Leave a comment or a link to your blog.

Solidarity, baby!

 * * * * * * *

Because this is the only one we've got.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving thanks and thanks and thanks . . .

My word, y'all . . . when it rains it pours!

Did you notice I missed Why I Fight Friday?

I was busy. Very busy.

With what, you ask? Well, let me just tell you.

First of all, remember my Which Side Are You On? post listing the groups for and against the coal plant HERE?

Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go back and edit that post. On Thursday night our neighboring county, Isle of Wight, adopted a resolution of opposition to the coal plant!

Of course, my elected officials and ODEC went to their meeting to try to influence them, but to no avail. Isle of Wight realized that this coal plant is dangerous and threat to their economy. You can read a terrific blog post (and even watch video footage of the meeting--which got a little....heated!) HERE.

Please, please, please join me in thanking Isle of Wight supervisors for their vote HERE. No matter where you are from, these folks did the right thing for all of us, and that is getting harder and harder to come by in this world, don't you think? Give them some love, wouldja?

Now, the other thing that had me running around was a wonderful Christmas delivery I had the fortune of making. Remember my appeal to donate to our county's Project Joy campaign in my Christmas on the Front Lines post HERE?

Well....let me tell you: Y'all did good! Y'all did better than good! Together we raised $525!

And the letters? Man alive....was I feeling the love!


See what I mean? Thanking me? For asking you for money??


Notes from friends of friends:


Notes from those who have become some of my dearest friends:


And so many more. Truly, I will cherish each and every one of you who were a part of this!

Not only did you make a difference in the lives of some needy children and make me feel amazingly blessed, but as I handed the check over to the Project Joy coordinator--a lovely woman, who wholeheartedly supports the coal plant--I was able to convey how much people care about this place. I was able to explain that even if we disagree about this issue, we are still a community. We are still neighbors. We are still a family. Maybe a tad dysfunctional, but

Since this coal plant proposal went off like a bomb in our community, we have seen a lot of conflict and strife. My hope is this is one small step in mending those fences and uniting.

Thank you for making that happen!

OK, if all this wasn't enough celebrating and gratitude for one week, let me just heap on some more good news!

Remember my previous "Psst . . . Your pants are on fire" post about the coal plant lawsuit HERE? Well, guess what? The judge's ruling is in.

And we won!

Not only did the judge deny ODEC and the Town of Dendron's motion to have the case dismissed, but he ruled that the original public hearing (where the coal plant was approved by the town) was null and void!

Two years later, there is some vindication. Vindication for the plaintiffs and the blueberry farmer lawyer. Vindication for all of us who said it was done incorrectly. And vindication for a couple of very special and brave women who sat on that town council and implored the others to not vote because it was wrong and potentially illegal.

I am so grateful for people who stand up for, and do, what's right. Not based on whether or not they will get caught. Not based on whether or not they will be punished. Not based on receiving accolades or reward.

But simply because doing the right thing is important.


For that I am so grateful. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Which Side Are You On?

Those against the coal plant:


  • The Town of Surry
Conservation organizations
  • The Wise Energy Coalition
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • National Parks Conservation Association
  • Hampton Roads Bird Club
  • Williamsburg Climate Action Network
  • Cape Henry Audobon Society (Norfolk)
  • VA Native Plant Society (State and Williamsburg chapter)
  • Lynnhaven River Now
  • Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program
Citizen's groups/political groups
  • Coalition to Keep Surry Clean
  • Garden Club of Virginia: A coalition of 47 clubs with 3,300 members.  
  • Isle of Wight Citizen's Association
  • Carrolton Civic League (In Isle of Wight)
  • James City County Citizen's Coalition
  • Yorktown Democrats
Health Organizations
  • CINCH (Consortium for Infant and Child Health -at EVMS in Norfolk)
  • American Lung Association
  • Virginia Asthma Coalition
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility
Those officially concerned
  • The City of Williamsburg
  • The City of Virginia Beach (on the verge of official opposition)
  • Representative Bobby Scott
  • Isle of Wight -showed concern in a resolution asking Surry to consider an independent study

Those for the coal plant:

  • The Town of Dendron
  • Surry County Board of Supervisors
  • ODEC

 Which side are you on?

The side with all the scientists, medical experts, and conservation groups?

Or the side who stands to make a whole lot of money (or thinks they will, anyway)?

I know which side I pick.

Which side are you on?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why I Fight

Why-I-Fight Fridays -- A glimpse into what's keeping me fighting this fight.

What keeps you fighting? Leave a comment or a link to your blog.

Solidarity, baby!

 * * * * * * *
Because we don't honor those who fight for justice by committing more injustice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Psst . . . Your pants are on fire"

pants on fire
A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article in our local paper about adopting a new county-wide water system.

One of the big reasons given for approving the coal plant in the Town of Dendron was that they needed enormous upgrades to their town's water system.

The utility proposing the plant, ODEC, promised a large sum of money to the town in the form of proffers to go toward the water system.

Since the lawsuit contesting the town's approval of the plant, which I told you about in a previous "Psst . . . Your pants are on fire" HERE, ODEC has witheld some of those proffers, only giving the town $50,000.

Here's the summary of the situation that appeared in the article I was reading:

    "Old Dominion Electric Cooperative gave the town $50,000 last year
 for some emergency repairs,
but the remaining $715,000 in proffers for the aging water system
 and other town infrastructure remains tied up
due to litigation over the proposed Cypress Creek power plant, said Mayor Yvonne Pierce."
  - Smithfield Times, Oct. 26, 2011

Yeesh! $715,000? That's a lot of money. All tied up by a lawsuit, huh?

Hmmm...not so fast.

In looking over the proffers I think Mayor Pierce--and the Smithfiled Times--are mistaken.

The proffers I'm looking at (dated Jan. 21, 2010) seem to say that $100,000 is to be given within 90 days of zoning approval (pending, of course, challenge), and the remaining $500,000 for water to be given upon obtaining a "building permit for construction of any buildings associated with the power plant" or upon the "Town obtaining a sufficient grant to make all necessary repairs to the Town water system"--whichever occurs first.

So $100,000 within 90 days of approval....unless there's a lawsuit.

Which there was, but ODEC still gave $50,000...or half.

Then the "remaining $500,000" when a building permit is obtained or when the town gets a grant. I'm not sure if the Town has obtained the necessary grants, but I know we are a long way away (if ever) from building permits being issued.

That's $600,000 total. Not $715,000 like the article says.

Proffers for sidewalks and recreation improvements make up the $115,000 difference. And even there the proffer agreement states that they shall be given "prior to obtaining a land disturbance permit for construction of a power plant."

Again...a looooong way off from construction. ODEC doesn't even have an application in with the State Department of Environmental Quality, let alone approval!

$50,000 vs $715,000.

That's a big difference.

Blaming this lawsuit on holding up anything but $50,000 is some funky math.

Of course, it's not nearly as dramatic or divisive to blame some citizens for holding up $50,000 as it is to blame them for $715,000.

And it's definitely not as dramatic or divisive to blame some cititizens as it is to accept responsibility that you may have broken the law with your public hearing and misled the citizens by lying to them.

But that seems to be the way ODEC operates: divide and conquer....and fudge the facts.

Wonder if they get group rates on new pants?

Monday, November 7, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

A few years ago, my son wrote a "book" about the coal plant:

"The coal plant is stupid."

"The coal plant kills dogs."

"The coal plant kills people."

I don't know about dogs, but coal plants do kill tens of thousands of people every single year. At least according to the scientists, medical people, and the EPA.
That does sound like a pretty crazy way to get electricity.

I mean, if someone told you had to sacrifice your child on an alter to run your TV what would you say?

If someone told you had to sacrifice your child on an alter to run your neighbor's TV what would you say?

That's pretty much what's being asked of the people in my community.

I might be partial, but I think my boy is right, the coal plant is definitely "stoopit."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I Fight

Why-I-Fight Fridays -- A glimpse into what's keeping me fighting this fight.

What keeps you fighting? Leave a comment or a link to your blog.

Solidarity, baby!

 * * * * * * *
Because trick-or-treating at the neighborhood coal plant doesn't sound like my idea of small town America.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


"Only by showing extraordinary courage would these mothers prevail."
                 ― "African Cats"
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