Calls for A Moratorium on New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
RICHMOND, VA -- The Green Party of Virginia (GPVA) opposes the gas-fired power plant proposed by Chickahominy Power, LLC, a subsidiary of Balico, LLC as well as NOVI Energy’s C4GT facility proposed to be built a mile away in Charles City County. Both will contribute to climate change and negatively impact the health of nearby communities.
According to the company’s filing with the DEQ, the Chickahominy plant alone will emit up to 6.5 million tons of CO2e into the atmosphere each year. This will increase overall emissions at a time when scientists are calling for dramatic reductions in order to help mitigate the climate crisis. Building these plants will contribute to ocean acidification and increase air and carbon pollution, which is in direct conflict with Governor Ralph Northam’s recently proposed carbon reduction actions.
These plants are additional environmentail injustices, similar to the Buckingham County Compressor Station in Union Hill and the VNG Southside Connector in Hampton Roads. Once again, the negative health effects of these power plants will disproportionately impact the nearby poor and minority communities. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has downplayed the possible consequences of the Chickahominy plant, arguing that “The air pollution emissions from this facility, as proposed, are not expected to cause injury.” However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Nitrous Oxide, one of the major emissions from the plant, leads to major respiratory illnesses and damages air and water quality. Moreover, the plant will emit lead, cadmium, and mercury. Charles City County, already a fossil fuel hub, suffers from higher incidences of COPD and asthma relative to other areas of Virginia. That is a huge additional health risk, and one which will be borne by those least able to bear it.
GPVA co-chair Tina Rockett denounced the power plants. “The Chickahominy power station is being proclaimed by the EPC contractor, Gemma Power Systems, as ‘clean gas’. No matter how the fossil fuel industry spins it, there is no such thing as ‘clean’ gas or coal. The Chickahominy gas-fired power station alone would make the Charles City area the 5th largest for gas emissions in the US. Virginia is rich in wind, water and solar potential. We currently have more than enough existing energy. We need to immediately stop all fossil fuel expansion and assure a just transition for fossil fuel workers as we rapidly move to 100% renewable energy.”
Once again, Governor Northam and the DEQ have shown that they are more interested in the profits of utility companies than in the health, safety, and well-being of Virginian citizens. Governor Northam’s continued negligence on pollution, climate change, and environmental justice further demonstrates his unsuitability for the office. If the governor is truly interested in addressing climate change and his legacy of racism, then he should call for a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure.