Citizens are speaking up about a community issue that impacts their daily lives.
State Senator Scott Surovell, and Delegates Jennifer Carroll Foy and Luke Torian hosted a town hall on coal ash at Dumfries Elementary School.
During the meeting on Tuesday, representatives from Dominion Energy outlined a plan for addressing the issue.
In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations that’s requiring officials to close coal ash ponds by capping it in place, recycling it, or placing it in appropriate landfills.
Foy voiced her opposition to the first solution at a Legislation Kick-Off Breakfast last week.
“One of the key things that we’re working against is that the federal government put a timeline in the rule that basically said once [a] closure’s triggered, you have 15 years to complete it,” Jason Williams from Dominion Energy said.
Coal ash has been removed from four out of five ponds located in Possum Point.
Recent legislation has required Dominion Energy to research the cap-in-place and removal options, and to conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Through the RFP process, the company found that managing the 4 million cubic yards of coal ash in Possum Point would cost a minimum of $216 million to $727 million.
Many meeting attendees expressed concerns about contaminated water.
Dominion Energy determined that the water is within health standards after collecting samples around the final coal ash pond during the past couple of years.
“We’ll be working with the state on any cleanup that’s necessary our path forward,” Williams said.
Town hall participants also discussed environmental issues and funding for the coal ash removal process.
Surovell explained that it’s a “pollution control cost.” He added that lawmakers must keep several factors in mind when considering funding to address the issue.
“I can just tell you, for the people who don’t have a coal ash deposit site in their legislative district – somebody’s whose district is on the other side of the Shenandoah Valley, nowhere near this – they don’t want to pay for this. Right?” Surovell said. “And so, as legislators, that’s also an issue that we have to balance in terms of selling this to our colleagues.”
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