Over at Bacon’s Rebellion, which is proudly sponsored by our friends at Dominion Power, Jim Bacon interviews “Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Transmission, managing partner of the [Atlantic Coast Pipeline – ACP],” in order to provide the public with “a clearer understanding of the thinking behind the enterprise.” You can read the interview if you want, but I’m going to skip right to the comments section, where hilarity – mostly in the form of (former Bacon’s Rebellion writer) Peter Galuszka utterly demolishing Dominion’s argument – promptly ensues.
Here are a few highlights, bolding added by me for emphasis of Galuszka’s awesome comments. Enjoy (and even better, tell Dominion Power where to shove its utterly unnecessary, environmentally destructive fracked gas pipelines, as well as its paid propaganda)!
So, the publisher of a blog partly sponsored by Dominion gets a 45-minute, exclusive interview with a bunch of power company executives who try to explain why a $5 billion project in which Dominion has a huge financial interest is so necessary.
Two questions. Why is it simply assumed that some new rules to cut mercury emission from coal-fired generating plants mean that only natural gas-plants can replace the output? Whatever happened to renewables? You won’t find that many in Virginia since Dominion has not exactly embraced them. The state is far behind its neighbors on solar and wind. Next, a lot of these coal plants that these executives claim were to be shut down by new mercury rules and by the CPP (which hasn’t taken effect yet) even though many were 50 or 60 years old and were too old to operate efficiently. This is pure double talk.
Next, when we wade through this RFP stuff, readers are kept from of really knowing what alternatives for gas really were:
“Duke and Piedmont received multiple proposals. However, they say they cannot discuss the losing bids, the details of which are protected by confidentiality agreements.”
So, in other words, the message is “trust us” but you understand we can’t really discus this for legal reason and BTW, and we had a really cold spell a few winters ago.
This is nothing more than a paid advertisement for Dominion and its ACP partners masquerading as an insightful news story. Why didn’t Dominion make these people available to real journalists and the general public before? Why do they need the filter of a sponsored blog?
And more from Peter Galuszka:
Yes, this is really blatant, but Bacon does not make the crucial point — is ACP needed by the public enough to deploy eminent domain?
He utterly fails to make his case. Instead we get this:
“Plain and simple, company spokesmen say, the ACP best met the utilities’ needs. The four partners backed the venture because it made the most economic sense.”
So, the ACP might fit nicely with the strategic plans of four utilities so they can make money. They claim that they can get cheaper gas deals than just through Transco, which somehow never came up as a big problem before. In fact, these same four utilities have long touted their relatively cheap rates.
When they try to give you a sense of the public (“public” being a very important word here) need, you get this mealy-mouthed, it depends on what future customers might pop up.
Thus, they — and their trusted scribe Jim Bacon — fail to establish any public need for this boondoggle.
I think it is entirely appropriate to shoot the messenger in this case. Jim’s connections to Dominion are suspect and the fact that he openly admits them doesn’t make the relationship pure. Also, in this post, Jim offers absolutely no push-back or other thinking (besides setting up Joe Lovett as a straw man) that others manage to come up with on this blog. How about the point that a Cambridge consulting firm found there’s sufficient pipeline capacity to 2030? Why doesn’t Jim mention that? If he had offered us a balanced, in-depth look, I would have applauded it. Instead, we get unabashedly sponsored content and we’re expected to go along with it, because Jim is Jim , a good guy, wink-wink. Utter crap. He ought to get rid of the Dominion sponsorship pronto and try to salvage himself. Bacons Rebellion has lost a lot of respect and Dominion knows damn well what it is doing.