Community demands cleaner, sustainable development
For Immediate Release:Thursday, Mar17,2022 Contact: email@example.com
Charles City County, VA — Members of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County (C5) are celebrating today’s announcement from Chickahominy Power that this 1600 MW merchant gas plant project, which would have brought 6.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent and hundreds of tons of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds annually to their rural county. This project, which closely followed the permitting of another recently cancelled merchant gas plant, C4GT, posed threats to the health, safety, property, and community of Charles City County. Chickahominy Power received its air permit in June of 2019. Today the company website pointed to “opposition from outside interests,” and particularly, the renewable energy industry, as explanations for its termination.
Local community members were actually the project’s fiercest opponents. Charles City residents fought hard to stop this project, organizing a grassroots advocacy group called “Concerned Citizens of Charles City County,” or C5 in June of 2019. C5 gathered hundreds of Charles City residents’ petition signatures, hosted dozens of community events, met with local legislators, and led a drive to oppose the final permitting of Chickahominy. Despite registering 1,199 comments on the “Special Exception” for water to supply the
Chickahominy gas plant, of which, “only the applicant and two others provided comments in support,” Chickahominy Power received its final permits from the DEQ on June 29, 2020.
Chickahominy Power, led by Irfan Ali, a private fossil fuel developer, had also sought to build an 83 mile gas pipeline through Charles City, New Kent, Henrico, Hanover, and Louisa counties to supply this merchant gas plant. That project faced significant opposition from residents throughout central Virginia, and it was enmeshed in SCC proceedings over the regulatory process.
The Concerned Citizens of Charles City County collectively agree, “Our community won - this is a victory for Charles City County and its residents.”
Reverend F. Wayne Henley , Senior Pastor of Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Charles City, responded to the news by saying “We thank God for giving us the tenacity to keep rising to the occasion when the odds seemed stacked against us."
Dr. Mary Finley-Brook PhD, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, stated, “As soon as the Chickahominy merchant gas plant was brought to my attention in late December of 2018, it was clear that the community had not been involved in the process, and perhaps were intentionally being kept in the dark. It is because of the hard work, strength and bravery of groups like C5 that other communities will know that they can stand up and demand transparency and accountability. If energy developers are only in the market to profit off fossil fuels, they should not be hand held by regulators like DEQ. VCEA means green jobs and energy transition starting today. C5 has integrity and a proven track record that will be invaluable as they lead the energy transition. The same way that this grassroots group has led the state and country in staying ‘no’ to infrastructure designed for outside benefit, while caused more harm to families living with a mega-landfill for three decades, C5 and allies look forward to developing green community-based jobs. Outside companies like Balico can no longer enter Charles City with small favors to achieve tax breaks and subsidies at the expense of public health and ecological balance.”