Your View: Industrial dinosaur? Try technologically advanced power plant


To the editor:

There are compelling arguments to be made in favor of retiring the GenOn Potomac River Generating Station. Industry itself recognized long ago the increasingly residential development of Alexandria would make the plant uneconomical in the near future. But that doesnt mean detractors are free to make misleading claims to chase them out of town even faster, or to justify paying the company millions of taxpayer dollars on the way out. Unfortunately, the debate over the power plant is fueled by such misinformation and half-truths.

The Sierra Club, which opened an office in Del Ray this year, constantly points to the fact that the plant dates back to 1949, implying its age reflects its lack of technology. This paper worked to foster that myth, calling the plant an industrial dinosaur. But I wonder if these righteous opponents will call next for the destruction of Old Towns row homes, some of which date back to the 1800s. Surely these homes must maintain the old inefficiencies of colonial life, right?

While eco-activists may not realize it, the external shell of a structure does not necessarily represent what lies within. Technology installed at the power plant since 2002 alone, along with its reduced operations, have decreased the amount of sulfur dioxide emissions by 87.5 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 75 percent, as well as capture 99.8 percent of particulate matter. 

Activists may be equally surprised to find that Old Towns row homes now hold dishwashers, computers and clothes dryers.

Tired talking points and eco-propaganda are no substitute for a substantive debate. If residents dont want the GenOn power plant in our community, they should make real-world, fact-based arguments instead of relying on anti-development groups that promote fear instead of solutions.