Thursday, September 27, 2007

Images from Tuesdays Meeting in Conway

On Tuesday the Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting in Conway. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the "scope" of their eventual Environmental Impact Statement for Santee Cooper's plans to build a dirty, pulverized coal plant along a fragile stretch of the Pee Dee River near Kingsburg, South Carolina.

The direct environmental impacts of the plant are monumental. Each year, the plant will emit 300 pounds of mercury (a neurotoxin dangerous even in small quantities) and thousands of tons of smog and soot-forming pollutants (SO2, NOx and PM2.5). The plant will destroy over 2000 acres of what is now unspoiled land along the Pee Dee, including a hundred acres of pristine wetlands, and will draw millions of gallons of water from an already impaired water source.

Concerned citizens protested Santee Cooper's plant before the meeting (above; click for larger view). The public comment period began shortly after 7:00 PM. A above-capacity crowd filled the auditorium at Coastal Carolina University, with participants standing in the aisles and along the back wall in order to have their say. Over 40 folks stood and expressed their opinions to the US Army Corps of engineers. Comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the coal plant, and ran the gamut from concerns with how Santee Cooper's plant would damage the environment, to how the plant would harm the health of those living near or downstream from the plant, to the numerous cleaner and cheaper alternatives to building a coal plant. Only two attendees spoke in favor of the plant; neither of which were able to address the overwhelmingly negative environmental and social impacts of the proposal.

All in all, it was a successful expression of the public's opposition to a dirty coal plant. The public forum continues tonight in Florence. Please consider coming out and having your say. At 5 p.m. this evening concerned citizens will gather in the parking lot of the South Florence High School to express opposition to Santee Cooper's plans. Sign-ups for a chance to speak before the Corps will begin at 6 PM and the scoping meeting itself should start shortly thereafter:

EIS Scoping Meeting
Thursday, September 27, 2007
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
South Florence High School
3200 South Irby Street
Florence, SC
in the Commons Area and the Auditorium

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