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History, Future of James River to be Discussed at 2 Upcoming Events

Andy Thompson

@richmondoutside
December 3, 2018 10:13am

If you love the James River — and, really, if you’ve lived here for more than a few minutes, how can you not? — I’ve got a couple of events this week to put on your calendar.

Tomorrow from 6-8 p.m., The Valentine will host the next installment in its free Controversy/History series, which explores “present-day issues facing the Richmond community by pairing historic debates with modern data, encouraging important discussions that inspire action and promote progress.”

Tomorrow’s discussion will focus on the history of the James River. Valentine Director Bill Martin and Coffee With Strangers RVA’s Kelli S. Lemon will present a back-and-forth focused on the different uses of the James River throughout Richmond’s history. Then, Jamie Brunkow from the James River Association, Dustin Rinehart from the Richmond Marine Terminal (The Port of Virginia) and Nathan Burrell with Richmond VA Parks and Recreation will discuss the different uses of the James today, and the potentially competing roles of commerce and recreation. Finally, attendees will receive a list of concrete steps they can take to make a difference in their community. Dialectix Founder Matthew Freeman will facilitate group discussion.

James River floods have been a part of Richmond’s history since its founding. Credit: Wikimedia

Then on Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at the Chesterfield Central Library (7051 Lucy Corr Blvd., Chesterfield, Va. 23832), the James River Association is hosting a town hall meeting with State Senator Rosalyn Dance about Dominion’s plans for the coal ash ponds at their Chesterfield Power Station.

From the JRA: If, like us, you have concerns about Dominion’s plan to handle the millions of tons of coal ash piling up at Chesterfield Power Station, we encourage you to join us in attending a town hall with Dominion this Wednesday.

Dominion’s preferred plan would cap the coal ash in place, burying it in an unlined basin on the banks of the James River. But groundwater flowing through the base of the pond toward nearby Dutch Gap Conservation Area is being polluted by harmful contaminants. Testing by James River Association, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Dominion show elevated levels of toxic pollutants like arsenic, cobalt, radium and molybdenum.

We need clean closure — an effective, long-term solution that stops the pollution from escaping and takes into consideration all of the people who live, work, and play near Chesterfield Power Station.

Clean closure

– Safely removes coal ash to be recycled or permanently locked away in lined landfills.
– Eliminates the risk of pollution for Dutch Gap and nearby communities.
– Protects local drinking water from potential spills caused by flooding.

According to Dominion’s most recent report, clean closure is possible for Virginia. Let’s keep the pressure up to make sure this plan becomes a reality.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?


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