Friday, September 22, 2017
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glenbesa

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Doing the Math: Dominion’s and FERC’s Own Numbers Tell Us the Atlantic Coast Pipeline...

You don’t need to rely on environmentalists’ climate calculations to know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is carbon budget buster. Just look at the numbers...

Liars, Damn Liars and Dominion-con’t.

Dominion Energy has demonstrated the truth of the old saw: "There are lies, damn lies and statistics." Last May 1st Dominion Energy released its 2017...

Why Ralph Northam Should Oppose the Proposed New Gas Pipelines

by Glen Besa, immediate past director of the Sierra Club's Virginia chapter I’m voting for Ralph Northam for a lot of reasons but not for...

Liars, Damn Liars and Dominion Power

by Glen Besa It's May 1st, not April 1st, but Dominion Power still is attempting to play us for fools with its publicity blitz around...

Tom Farrell and Bob Blue: Dirty Politics and Dirty Dominion Power

Dominion, Virginia’s largest utility, has a state monopoly to provide electricity to much of the Commonwealth, and, overall, it does its job keeping our...

We Are All Americans First: The Failure of Identity Politics

by Glen Besa Throughout the presidential campaign, we heard pundits and pollsters focus on identity politics: Hillary's strength and Trump's relative weakness with the women's...

Come Clean Mr. Blue! What is Dominion trying to hide?

An Open Letter to Robert Blue:

Robert Blue, President
Dominion Virginia Power

Dear Mr. Blue:

On behalf of the Sierra Club and also as a Dominion customer who received your letter regarding SB1349, we are calling on you to fully discuss the financial information required by the State Corporation Commission to analyze Dominion electricity rates, possible overcharges and the costs of implementing the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Dominion's entire justification for SB1349 was that costs of implementing this EPA rule would be high, and that Dominion wanted its shareholders to absorb those costs rather that passing them on to your customers.  As absurd as that argument was and is, the General Assembly passed your legislation on your representation that you would continue to give the SCC full access to Dominion's financial records.  

In your letter, you said, ""Nor would Dominion's books be closed to SCC inspection, as some contend. The base rate review scheduled for this year would go on. Beyond that, we would continue to provide the SCC with full access to our financials."

Additionally, your lobbyist John Rust at the House hearing on SB1349 in responding to a question from Delegate Tom Rust about the audits said  "In terms of the review by the commission, the commission has the authority to do the audit, do the inspection of the books, to get the reports from the utility during this period, but the rates stay frozen during this period."

Now we learn that you want to withhold the financial information that would permit the SCC to evaluate the very claims you asserted to justify passage of SB1349. We find that position unconscionable.

What exactly is Dominion trying to hide. Mr. Blue?  Come clean Mr. Blue and give the SCC full access your books as promised in your letter.

Glen Besa, Director
Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter

Virginia – So Corrupt We Don’t Keep Score Anymore

I frequently visit VPAP.org for information on campaign and lobbying expenditures; data that is required to be filed with the state and which the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP.org) then puts up on its user friendly website.

When I looked for lobbying expenditure data on the VPAP website the end last year, perennial top spender Dominion VA Power had been bumped from the #1 position in 2014 by the Koch Bros' Americans for Prosperity which was out to kill "Obamacare."

If you visit VPAP.org today that data is gone, and the only lobbying related data provided is for gifts and entertainment lavished on our legislators. The total cost of lobbying programs is no longer up on the site, even though this data is reported to Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

When I inquired with VPAP about the absence of this data, their response was: "We made a decision to no longer include the total expenditure numbers on the site. They are essentially meaningless because of inconsistencies in the way lobbyist compensation is reported." In other words, the law is so poor that data is not reliable.

After seeing our immediate past Governor convicted of corruption, another way to look at it is that Virginia is so corrupt that it is no longer worth keeping score.

However flawed the data, it is what the registered lobbyists report to the Secretary of Commerce, and that data deserves to be accessible.  

At least for now, campaign expenditures are still reported on VPAP.org. And Virginia's largest polluter, Dominion Virginia Power, remains the #1 non-political party affiliated spender at over $1.2 million for 2014-- over 5 times more than the next largest contributor--coal giant Alpha Natural Resources at $224,000 and cancer facilitator Altria at $220,000.

I'm not sure how we'll fill the data gap now that VPAP has stopped reporting lobbying expenditures. At least for the dirty energy polluters like Dominion and Alpha, Sierra Club will be pulling the reports from the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and putting the data on our website. Look for that data on our website in the near future.      

Filipino Climate Delegate asks: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

As I watch the devastating death toll rise in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, I recalled the impassioned speech of the Philippines delegate to the United Nations Climate Conference in Doha, Qatar last December when another Typhoon was bearing down on his island nation.  

He posed the question to the UN Climate Assembly:
"If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" I urge you listen to his speech:  

How many Katrinas, how many Sandies, how many Haiyans will it take before we come together as a nation and as a community of nations to talk bold action on climate change?  

Cuccinelli Abused the Office of Attorney General to Advance Fossil Fuel Interests

The Associated Press reports:
A Federal Court judge has issued an opinion stating she was "shocked" that Cuccinelli's office was assisting natural gas companies in a law suit between those companies and Virginia land owners who have alleged that the gas companies removed gas from under their land without compensation, bilking the land owners out of natural gas royalty dollars.

In response, Glen Besa, Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter Director, issued the following statement:
Frankly, we at the Sierra Club are not shocked at all by this latest revelation.

Almost from first day he was elected, Attorney General Cuccinelli has abused his office on behalf of fossil fuel polluters.  Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent in unnecessary litigation costs as Cuccinelli pursued frivolous suits against the Environmental Protection Agency and even the University of Virginia, all in the name of publicity, climate denial and political gamesmanship.

Just this year Cuccinelli issued an official advisory opinion siding with the natural gas industry over local governments.

So, one has to wonder, whose interests are Attorney General Cuccinelli representing? The people of Virginia or the fossil fuel industry?

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