South Carolina Youth Deflate Dreams of New Coal

November 20, 2008 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

coal-plant-010

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control doesn’t know how to handle all the young people coming out and speaking out against Santee Cooper’s proposed “Pee Dee Energy Campus,” a pretty euphamism to mask Santee Cooper’s dirty ambitions for a 600 MW pulverized coal plant on the banks of the Great Pee Dee River. Nor did the crowd of Santee Cooper subsidized supporters know how to handle us. Speaker after speaker tried to undermine the intentions of the twenty young people present by meanly accusing us of being there for school credit or by leveraging age as an indicator of intelligence.

However, the youth message was wildly different. Ten young people got up to speak last night and made public comments urging DHEC to deny Santee Cooper a 401 Water Quality permit that they need to build an intake and discharge structure on the Great Pee Dee River. Our message was one of unity, of shared hopes and common needs. In a community that desperately needs jobs, in a state with growing energy demands, young people challenged Santee Cooper, looking CEO Lonnie Carter right in the eye, to be a national leader and a real force of innovation for the state. Communities should not have to be sacrificed at the alter of energy demands, especially when there are healthy, clean alternatives.

Santee Cooper’s coal plant would: emit 93 lbs of mercury into an environment already overburdened by high mercury levels, destroy 92 acres of wetlands, create toxic ash dumps on the banks of a large fresh water source, employ 100 people and perpetuate the devastation of Appalachian communities. A 3% increase in statewide energy efficiency efforts would eliminate the “need” for the coal plant and serious investment in clean energy would create tens of thousands of jobs across the state. Santee Cooper has a choice to make and South Carolina’s youth will not settle!!

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Entry filed under: 1, coal, southcarolina.

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