Dominion Power losing traction?

Brent Finnegan -- March 14th, 2007

You know you’re in trouble when conservatives and liberals don’t like you. As Dominion Power pushes to build a 500 kilovolt power line through Rappahannock County, they’re running out of political allies. The proposed line was originally going to cut north through Frederick, Warren, northern Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William. Now they’ve decided to use a right-of-way further south through Rappahannock Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William, and Loudon.

Those communities have risen up to fight it. The Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors authorized $50,000 to start a legal action fund to fight the line. They’ve asked the other affected areas to join in, and wrote to Todd Gilbert and Mark Obenshain, whose districts include Rappahannock (district maps linked).

Yesterday Del. Todd Gilbert pledged, ahem, $750 to the defense fund, and added, “during the very last days of the legislative session when no further legislation could be introduced, no hearings could be held, Dominion dropped the Rappahannock route bomb. Obviously, the earlier route selection was a straw man, a ruse, a smokescreen to hide Dominion’s real route choice until the General Assembly closed for the remainder of the year.”

It’s unclear what Obenshain will do, because both the northern and southern routes cut through his district.

Since we don’t live in either of those areas, route choice may have little effect on us. But Dominion Power is a publicly-traded corporation, and does what it does in the name of quarterly earnings.

To quote local environmentalist and JMU prof Erik Curren, “the whole state seems to be in the pocket of one of the worst corporate dinosaurs when it comes to global warming, Dominion Resources.” According to CNN, they’re on the list of the nation’s top 10 worst companies for the climate. They have failed to disclose the effects any future climate change regulation would have on its bottom line, despite requests from the Investor Network. Dominion had no response to CNN’s inquiries as to why they did not disclose.

So there you have it. If both Curren and Gilbert actually agree on something (Dominion is bad for Virginia), there may be something to it.

5 Responses to “Dominion Power losing traction?”

  1. Finally, somebody–namely Todd Gilbert–has said out loud what I have been thinking and writing since October. Dominion’s late decision to designate Rappahannock and Culpeper Counties as the route for its power line was a classic bait-and-switch maneuver. When they initially announced they would ram their towers down a line across Loudoun and Fauquier counties along I-66–where the rich and powerful live, and where the votes are–it looked like proposing a worst-case scenario first, to stir up opposition. This they did, and then they pulled back their straw man and played like they were good guys who had actually listened to the outcry. Switching to the route of lesser political resistance, they defused the opposition and got what they wanted in the first place. But they are in for a fight from the folks of Rappahannock and Culpeper. We’re not as many, or as powerful, but we’re not going to be run over like country hicks.

  2. finnegan says:

    I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine that Obenshain will do much about this.

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