"Stupid" protest calls for smarter environmental measures

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Updated by Peter Smelser - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Several eco-conscious college students are making their concerns heard over the use of fossil fuels in the U.S.

The UNC-Wilmington students organized a protest Wednesday afternoon outside the Sutton steam plant off Highway 421, which burns coal to create electricity. The students admittedly called their protest "stupid", but that's their label for the use of fossil fuels in the 21st century.

"We're all just asking to get some clean energy out there and abandon our old ways," said Andy Meyers, UNCW Environment Concerns Organization (UNCW ECO).

Progress Energy representatives say the Sutton plant is needed to keep lights on in the community.

"This is a 600 megawatt power plant that's been providing reliable service since the 1950s, jut to take it offline is not a responsible way to meet the needs of the region," said Progress Energy's Mike Hughes.

Hughes says more eco-friendly energy option will take time to create.

"We're more quickly and aggressively in addressing emissions, etc. but this plant is a critical part of our ability to meet the needs of our customers," said Hughes.

The students say they do not want companies to drag their feet and want the United States and other nations to sign binding agreement to make cleaner energy.

"We want our leaders to do what the science says is needed and not what politicians say is doable," said Meyers.

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