Supporters, opponents sound off about proposed Brunswick Co. power plant

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Today more than a hundred peopled flooded Courtroom C inside the State Corporation (SCC) with differing viewpoints, but one purpose and that was to make their opinions known.

Those attending today's public hearing included lawmakers, county officials, Dominion Virginia Power representatives and current customers-just to name a few.  They were out in large numbers to fire off about the $1.3 billion proposed project.  The state's largest utility is looking for approval from the SCC to build in Brunswick County.

Opponents said a new plant could usher in higher rates.  According to the Associated Press, the initial increase to the typical residential customer would be 83 cents.  However those against the mega power plant said it's more than just the economic factor, but there's an environmental concern when it comes to the threat of harmful pollution.

"We are here today to tell the State Corporation Commission there's a better way instead of investing over a billion dollars in new gas for a power plant to instead invest in energy efficiency--which will save us all money and also protect the environment," Glen Besa said.

But on the other side, those favoring the power plant said the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has signed off on the project.  Supporters said the plant would create 500 construction jobs and more than 40 full-time jobs.  And the billion dollar plant--if approved--would be the largest single investment in Brunswick County's history.

"Of course I asked the responsible questions," supporter Joan Moore said.  "I wanted to understand fully any impact it might have on our environment or any other effects that might be potentially negative.  Finding out there would be none and it would all be positive for our county, I was very excited about it."

Following today's public hearing, a recommendation will be made to the three SCC board members.  After which a decision is expecting in a few months.