On Wed., Aug. 28 the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to approve the amendment to Mattawoman Energy Center’s (MEC) 2015 Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) permit – to make a change from water cooling to air cooling of the now 1,038 MW operating 24/7 fracked-gas power plant. This will allow MEC to move forward with their plan to build after a 4 year dormancy. Seven concerned citizens from Brandywine and Prince George’s County were able to attended the PSC’s administrative meeting in Baltimore to represent, witness and reiterate objections and concerns. (For more information on citizen’s testimonies to the PSC click here and put in Select Case: 9330 and click Search)
That evening, we met with County Executive Angela Alsobrook’s Chief of Staff and Community Relations office. They said they heard that people in Brandywine didn’t care about the power plants. WE NEED TO SHOW THE COUNTY WE CARE! It was very nice to talk to county administrators who seemed to care, but what will be done?
The next day we spoke out at County Councilman Sydney Harrison’s Coffee and Conversation in Clinton for District 9. The flyer didn’t say it was for Education only, but they made that statement during the event, apparently to keep us from bringing up power plants even though we spoke about the health of our students by preventing more asthma and respiratory problems due to air pollution and about raising taxes to improve our schools. The power plants do impact our children. Additional information:
- Councilman Harrison said he was going to the Dept. of Health to find out what could be done about the air quality problem – he said they know about the power plants and are taking the future air quality into consideration also (let’s share with each other about the findings of those meetings).
- Harrison’s chief of staff, Eric Bowman said council lawyers advise them that some issues and meetings, like power plants, have legal concerns that keep them from discussing them or attending meetings about them. We would like transparency about what these legal concerns are.
WHAT WE CAN DO NOW
Don’t Let the County Tell Us: “We inherited this problem” or “It was the state…” as this sounds like it has nothing to do with our county officials and that they can’t do anything. We can contact the county to tell them what they can do (see below). Contact Coucilman Sydney Harrison here – Contact County Executive Angela Alsobrooks here.
WHAT THE COUNTY CAN DO
- Not give the power plants tax breaks, credits, incentives, etc. They should pay full taxes and the area should see those funds to remediate the damage their plants cause and to improve our local schools.
- Monitor noise from the power plant and take action if they are above the limit of 65 db during the day and 55 db at night. It is the county’s perview to enforce noise standards. We think that should be at the sidewalk level since we want this to be a walkable bikable community and the county is helping to make the effort to do that (see Brandywine Revitalization & Preservation Study by Parks & Planning here).
- Monitor air quality and report to the state if the power plants are not keeping to the legal qualities set by state and federal agencies. They may say that’s the state’s perview, but if they are true to their desire to educate our children, they need to also protect their health and the county can report to the state and federal governments or it can be done through a county-citizen partnership. (Wellness is supposedly a goal of the public schools.)
- County can be leaders in modeling with programs that support its citizens, such as a policy to have no more power plants and meet state goals for the climate crisis before their goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2040; also supporting agritourism as a viable entity for green areas and food security which requires farmland.