A few minutes ago, I got off a conference call organized by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), and including several other speakers from across Virginia. The main topic was brand-new polling regarding Gov. McAuliffe’s (flawed) policies on new fracked natural gas pipelines and coal ash waste disposal in the Commonwealth. To put it mildly, Virginians are not on the same page with McAuliffe (or with Dominion Power) on this one. Check out the press release below, and also the poll result graphics I’ve embedded.
First, when it comes to coal ash waste disposal, Virginians by an enormous 71%-14% margin do NOT want Gov. McAuliffe to follow Dominion Power’s shoddy approach, but instead want him to have the ash moved away from rivers and drinking water supplies and put into lined, protected landfills instead.
Second, Virginians by a 2:1 margin do NOT support Gov. McAuliffe on building two new pipelines across the state to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia. Obviously, a much better (and far cheaper) answer would be to max out on energy efficiency first, then proceed to super-cheap, clean solar power (both utility-scale and distributed/rooftop), then tap into Virginia’s enormous offshore wind power potential. Do all that first, and we’ll never need these ridiculous, harmful, expensive natural gas pipelines that most Virginians don’t even want! Is this a no-brainer or what???
- Only 28% of Virginia voters support Governor McAuliffe’s efforts to build two major fracked-gas pipelines, while 55% oppose the Governor’s efforts, a nearly 2-to-1 margin of opposition.
- Opposition to Governor McAuliffe on pipelines was especially strong in rural Virginia, among Independents, and among women.
- An overwhelming majority of voters polled — 71% — believe Governor McAuliffe should follow the approach of other southern states on coal ash disposal, requiring removal of the ash to modern landfills instead of allowing Dominion to bury it in place by rivers.
- The coal ash results show a 5-to-1 margin against Dominion’s approach and in favor of the approach of other southern states — including a majority across virtually every party, regional, and demographic group surveyed.
- Rejecting permits for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines for fracked gas, using state authority under the Clean Water Act, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has done in New York State.
- Requiring Dominion and other utilities to permanently protect Virginia waterways from toxic coal ash, as state authorities in the Carolinas and Georgia are doing.
- Committing to serious clean energy and adaptation solutions to keep coastal communities above water, including a dedicated state funding stream for flood protection.