Friday, June 17, 2016

In Coal Ash Case, Dominion Scores Win

State of Maryland drops opposition to permit near Dumfries.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 10:44 AM

click to enlarge Maryland had opposed conditions of the permit at the Possum Point Power Station, one of four plants with coal ash ponds in Virginia.
  • Maryland had opposed conditions of the permit at the Possum Point Power Station, one of four plants with coal ash ponds in Virginia.

In a victory for Dominion Virginia Power, the state of Maryland is dropping its opposition to a wastewater discharge permit as a step to close coal ash ponds at its Possum Point Power Station near Dumfries.

Maryland had appealed a State Water Control Board permit to dump treated coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.

“We are engaged in and encouraged by the ongoing discussions with Virginia and Dominion to do even more testing for fish tissue, water quality and sediment in the river beyond the current testing and monitoring in current or soon-to-be-proposed permits,” Ben Grumbles, Maryland’s secretary of the environment, said in a release.

The Potomac Riverkeepers group still opposes the permit. Dominion faced strong opposition after it won permits for Possum Point and its Bremo power stations. It then agreed to add extra measures for wastewater treatment and monitoring. The James River Association ended its opposition for thr Bremo permit, which allows effluent to be disposed of in the James River.

Meanwhile, a group of environmental groups has joined forces to protest what it says is Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pro-fossil fuel policies.

They demand that the governor end his support for offshore oil drilling, two natural gas pipelines and that he oppose granting permits to allow Dominion to permanently close coal ash pits without providing a bottom barrier to prevent leaching.

Dominion is due in federal court in Richmond Monday for a trial involving coal ash at its Chesapeake Energy Center. It is being sued by the Sierra Club.

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