Home Dominion Power Government for the People…or Government for the Profits?

Government for the People…or Government for the Profits?

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Tuesday is the big day! Tuesday we find out whether our legislature works to protect the people of Virginia, or works to protect the profits of the energy corporations. Tuesday we find out whether the big money that Dominion Energy, Appalachian Power, and the whole energy industry throws at our government buys the results they want at the expense of Virginians.

We have FIVE bills relating to the energy corporations, pipeline projects, clean water, and the people of the Commonwealth being heard in House subcommittees on Tuesday.

In a special Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (ACNR) subcommittee #4 that will meet on Tuesday at 7:30 in the morning:

  • HB 1141, from Delegates Sam Rasoul (D) and Chris Hurst (D) (chief patrons), Delegate Kaye Kory (D), and Senator Creigh Deeds (D), would require the State Water Control Board to conduct a review prior to issuing water quality permits during construction and operation of gas pipelines that include (i) an individual review of each proposed water body crossing, (ii) a review of any construction through karst terrain, and (iii) a review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plans.” Additionally, the Board will not allow any “land-disturbing activity,” which includes tree-felling.
  • HB1294, also from Delegates Rasoul and Hurst, and Senator Deeds, would require any company planning to construct an interstate natural gas pipeline in Virginia to post a performance bond with the State Water Control Board, prior to commencing construction, so that money is available to rectify adverse water quality problems created by the construction of a pipeline.
  • HB1188, from Delegates Hurst and Rasoul (chief patrons), Delegates Wendy Gooditis (D) and Alfonso Lopez (D), and Senators Deeds and John Edwards (D), would (a) make illegal the discharge of gas from natural gas pipelines on lands, stormwater drains or state waters and (b) hold pipeline operators liable for the costs of cleanup and damages to natural resources. It requires pipeline operators to establish baseline groundwater data for properties in the right-of-way which enables regulators to detect when gas has been illegally discharged or leaked from a pipeline operation into rural water supplies.

In Commerce and Labor subcommittee #3 on Tuesday afternoon after the adjournment of subcommittee #2,

  • HB556, from Delegates Danica Roem (D) and Rasoul (chief patrons) and Delegate Lee Carter (D), expands consumer protections by providing intervenor compensation in proceedings involving public utilities before the State Corporation Commission. It allows non-profit groups like the Virginia Sierra Club or the Southern Environmental Law Center to be compensated for their efforts on behalf of the public to work on energy issues with the State Commission Corporation.
  • HB96, from Delegates Rasoul and Roem (chief patrons) and eleven other Democratic delegates and one Democratic senator co-sponsoring, is a clean repeal of the Dominion rate freeze instituted in 2015. The rate freeze would end December, 2018, with the State Corporation Commission returning to biennial review of the rates being charged to consumers.

So here it is, here’s where we find out whether the Blue Wave was big enough to put a dent in the corrupt Virginia Way, or whether we’ll have to change a few more seats before we have a legislature that protects the people, fights for the people, protects our environment and our drinking water, and protects our beautiful mountains, rivers, and wildlife.

Please participate in any way you can.  Tweet, post on facebook, share this article, talk to your neighbors and friends at the bus stop and at work. Make calls and send emails to the legislators–make sure they know we are watching and we will hold them accountable. When you contact them, please be sure to say the number of the bill(s) you’re calling about and tell them why you support the bill(s), in your own language, with your own personal story if you have one. Here is the contact information for the committee members.

ACNR Subcommittee #4 members:

Commerce & Labor Subcommittee #3 members: