The first big victory against coal power plants in Virginia came a few days ago in a town of about 300. In a statement of independence, environmental justice, and the power a few people can have on the biggest issues facing our environment today, town councilors voted 3-2 to retain their zoning rights regarding a coal power plant proposal and essentially prevent the plant from being built (at least for now).
Big coal brought in all their artillery of propoganda, promises for jobs and a better living environment, and tax revenues for the town, but small groups of informed and regional activists, along with residents willing to listen and think for themselves, helped to stop this process from moving forward in its normal way in the small town of Dendron, VA. They came up with clever tactics and got enough support from the people in the area to make the decision-makers not only listen but vote in a significant and landmark way.
The councilors were leaning towards allowing coal supporters and the coal industry to take away their rights and their cherished environment a month before, but with the support of the Coalition to Keep Surry Clean, Wise Energy for Virginia, and students from the nearby College of William and Mary, the vote swung back to the side of mindful green activists.
The following video documents a portion of the story and clever, strong-willed activists in this landmark vote:
To read more on the history and current situation of this town and project, read here.
This is a great example of what a few people and some engaged regional groups can do to take control of their own future. It is an inspirational example that people in many other regions can look to and perhaps it will help others to launch their own “anti-coal” or “wise energy” or “climate change action” groups.
For great information on how to start your own regional coalition, read about or contact the people at the 7 year old Chesapeake Climate Action Network.