Over the last few years, many of you have asked me what the state is doing to clean up coal ash located in Chesterfield and elsewhere in Virginia. I have met one-on-one with many of you regarding this matter and have worked tirelessly to find a solution that works for our community.
Today, I joined a group of bipartisan leaders to announce a plan to close the coal ash ponds in a environmentally safe and fiscally-prudent manner that is in the best interest of the residents of Chesterfield County.
The coal ash in Chesterfield will be moved into state-of-the-art, lined landfills built on site that will protect the environment and minimize truck traffic in the community.
Dominion will transfer coal ash from the first pond into a newly constructed, lined landfill on site at the power station. The now old, empty pond will be retrofitted and lined so that coal ash from the second pond can be transferred into that landfill.
This, in my opinion, is the best option for our community.
The overriding concern I’ve heard from residents was about potential truck traffic from a proposed plan to recycle the coal ash. The recycling plan would require 300 trucks per day for 15 years to haul the coal ash from the ponds in Eastern Chesterfield to the recycling location in Amelia. That’s 300 trucks per day on Route 10, I-95, Route 288 and Route 360 (Hull Street Road).
Our plan minimizes truck traffic by ensuring that the coal ash at Chesterfield stays on site while still being secured in an environmentally-responsible way.
Further, Dominion has committed to ensuring accessibility and access to the Henricus boat ramp through either the existing entrance or a new entrance. This was an important issue to the community and I’m glad our resolution guarantees access to the Henricus boat ramp.
The recycling plan would have cost $6 billion, but this proposal will cost about half of that. The new plan also protects ratepayers by capping the annual costs that can be passed on to ratepayers to $250 million per year statewide. Customers all across the state benefited from the power generated by the coal ash and its fair that everyone across the state share in the cost of handling the coal ash that resulted from it.
I was joined at today’s announcement by Senator Amanda Chase and Delegate Riley Ingram. I have worked closely with Senator Chase and Delegate Ingram, as well as officials in Chesterfield County and at Dominion, to handle coal ash in the right way. Now is the time to act to resolve this issue and I am glad we were able to reach an agreement.
The plan is both environmentally responsible and fiscally sound. I believe our actions will prevent seepage into the James River and other waterways and will allow Virginians to continue enjoying the natural beauty of our landscape.