Cross-posted from Article XI.
“Going green” seems to be a tough chore for Dominion VA Power. Dominion recently announced that it will pay $5,600 in civil fines for a 700 to 800 gallon fuel oil spill that occurred at its Yorktown Power Station on Nov. 1, 2010, hardly more than a slap on the wrist for Dominion.
The fine is expected to be paid as soon as the Virginia Water Quality Control Board pulls the measure through the formal bureaucratic process.
The latest incident of Dominion’s highlights the uncertainties inherent in the extraction and transportation of oil, natural gas, uranium ore, or any other natural resource. The only problem with these natural resources is that “leaks” can have serious human and environmental consequences, consequences from which there may be no short-term remediation.
Moreover, given the temporary nature of many mining and extraction companies in particular, the logic of capitalism would dictate against long-term efforts at remediation oftentimes necessary to completely “clean up.”
While Dominion VA Power is an exception in that it has firm roots in Virginia, its centrality to Virginia’s economy and close political ties with many levers of government give pause to the idea that coherent regulations can reduce or eradicate environmental disasters arising from negligence, incompetence, or complete disregard of environmental safeguards.
700 to 800 gallon fuel oil spills, and other related incidents, by Dominion hardly seem like a simple mistake. It is a systemic problem that should be addressed immediately before there is no natural world left to value.