Cliffside power plant construction draws more discussion

CLIFFSIDE, NORTH CAROLINA - Welchel Road resident Roger Hollis said his backyard sounds like a train riding through it every morning.

He's hearing noise from construction at Duke Energy's Cliffside steam station. Once construction is complete — probably in 2012 — the company plans to shut down four units that were built in the 1940s.

A handful of people stood in a small area on Duke Power Road to protest the coal-fired plant and construction.

"It's a symbolic gesture," said Abby Gage, one of the organizers.

Gage is a farmer from Madison County and brought along her son, Alexander, 7, for the protest.

"The cost of building a coal-fired power plant is going up," she said. "The cost of solar wind power is going down."

Protests are nothing new at the Cliffside location, with arrests happening on the property in the past when protestors chained themselves to equipment.

Earlier, environmentalist groups joined together for a march at Duke Energy's Charlotte headquarters.

Hollis was not involved in the protest, but stopped by to share his support.

"I feel like the people living here are being done a total injustice," he said. "They just say what they are not going to do."

Joyce Norman, who lives nearby, said she doesn't have a problem with the plant or construction. She has lived in her home on Duke Power Road for more than 50 years.

"Whether it's coal or electric, we have to have power," she said.

Bill Conner, who lives about five miles away, is also in favor of the plant. "We always used coal before and never hurt us before," he said. "You don't have enough wind to keep things turning."


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