Shut It Down: The GenOn Potomac River Coal Plant

Last night, 1,000 concerned citizens of all ages came together at the entrance of theGenOn Potomac River Coal Plant in Alexandria, VA to demand its resignation. Environmentalists like Bill McKibben and Mike Tidwell joined hands with poets like E. Ethelbert Miller and Common Cause’s President Rev. Bob Edgar in a full moon, nighttime vigil at the plant’s heavily guarded entrance.  

The common cheer from activists and regular neighbors alike was “Shut It Down, Shut It Down!”  Why?  The plant provides zero power to Alexandria, or any DC metropolitan source for that matter.  In fact, it runs only at 18% operational capacity – on standby – slowly burning mountain top removal coal for absolutely no reason at all.  The resulting pollution spews into the Potomac River daily, on which it sits, and pumps over 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually.  The local community, in partnership with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and others, has been fighting this illogical, waterfront eyesore and blight for over a decade.

But with such growing momentum, widely expressed and on display tonight, the days of GenOn’s Potomac River Coal Plant appear numbered.  This weekend alone, over 10,000 youth from across the United States were learning the skills necessary to not only shut down one coal power plant, but the nation’s entire fleet.  These students got the education of a lifetime at the third Powershift conference in Washington, D.C.  Yet, the actions do not stop there; today is packed with direct actions involving over 5,000 people against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s funding of junk science, BP’s D.C. lobby office and other bastions of “dirty money,” “dirty energy,” and “dirty politics.”

Stay tuned for additional updates and the results of these actions later today!