GLEN ALLEN, Va — More than 150 protesters from across Virginia and Maryland voiced their concerns over Dominion Virginia Power’s “dirty energy investments and dirty politics” at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday morning.
Landowners and citizens from Buckingham, Nelson, and Augusta counties—all in the path of the Dominion’s controversial proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline—journeyed to Richmond by bus. Protesters said that people from Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and other communities joined them outside the Dominion training facility.
The protesters argued that Dominion is using its vast political influence to stack the deck in favor of costly and risky investments in massive ‘fracked’ gas and nuclear projects, trample the property rights of landowners, and attack sensible solutions like the federal Clean Power Plan. They said to have the Atlantic Coast Pipeline developed “deeply violates so many of our personal and community values.”
“Property owners want Dominion to respect that ‘No’ means ‘No,'”said Joanna Salidis, President of Friends of Nelson County, in a distributed press release. “We want Dominion to uphold their claim that eminent domain is a method of last resort — not a gift from the government to maximize profit on the backs of unwilling private property owners and communities.”
According to protesters, Dominion’s most recent 15-year energy plan would increase planet-heating carbon emissions by more than 30 percent. They say that Dominion makes choices that “are not in the best interest of the citizens of Virginia.
“Dominion needs to get serious about addressing climate change,” said Kendyl Crawford, Conservation Program Coordinator with Virginia Sierra Club. “According to its own projections, Dominion’s over-reliance on natural gas will increase its climate-changing carbon pollution 39% by 2028.”
Dominion did release this statement responding to Wednesdays protest:
“We’re proud of our record of low electricity rates, high reliability and environmental stewardship. Dominion has announced plans to invest more than $19 billion in Virginia and beyond to continue that record of service to our customers and communities. Our investments also bring with them thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in energy savings each year, and cleaner air. We will continue to seek a dialogue with all stakeholders and look forward to doing what is best to provide for the future.”
Organizations supporting the protest included the Augusta County Alliance, Beyond Extreme Energy, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Chesapeake Earth First!, FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas), Free Nelson, Friends of Buckingham County, Friends of Nelson County, Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community (Md.), Richmond Resistance, SEED (Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction), Virginia Chapter Sierra Club, We Are Cove Point, and Wild Virginia.