Just FYI, David Botkins is Director of Media Relations at Dominion Virginia Power, with “[s]pecial focus on leveraging earned media campaigns in tandem with corporate philanthropy, community affairs, and government relations.” Apparently, part of that “special focus” is hating government and wanting to destroy it. I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising, coming from a guy who was: “Director of Communications & Press Secretary, Mark Earley for Governor of Virginia Campaign”; “Assistant Press Secretary, Office of Virginia Governor George Allen”; and “Director of Communications” for Jerry Kilgore. Still, though, it’s a wee bit jarring coming from a top spokesperson for a company – Dominion Virginia Power – which serves hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers, which has given MILLIONS OF DOLLARS over the years to Virginia politicians in order to maintain a stranglehold over Virginia’s energy policy (e.g., to prevent the rapid scaling of clean energy, a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard, net metering, offshore wind power, etc, etc.). What do they do with the influence they buy over our government? Here’s an example (written by our own “kindler”):
You’re already (rightly) focused on the lousy transportation bill, but there’s an equally egregious bill now landing on your desk – HB 3068/SB1416. This bill, mostly written by Dominion Virginia Power, replaces the state’s failed deregulation experiment (also written by Dominion) with a joke of a “regulatory” system, in which a neutered watchdog agency is required to reward Dominion with enormous profits, at the expense of consumers and the environment.
Sen. Whipple had introduced a bill to require Dominion to use a small percentage of renewable energy sources, as half the states in the U.S. now mandate. Of course, Dominion wouldn’t go for that – instead, the Dominion bill only allows the company to increase rates if it increases renewables use.
And what about energy efficiency to reduce our surging demand? California figured it out 30 years ago – “Since 1974, California has held its per capita energy consumption essentially constant, while energy use per person for the United States overall has jumped 50 percent.” (Washington Post, 2/17/07) If California can do it, why can’t Virginia even try?
Why? Because our legislature is owned by a powerful corporation that has given $3.8 million to state lawmakers over the past decade. And therefore, the environment has been forced to take a back seat to the interests of Dominion.
In short, Dominion Virginia Power is the classic example of crony capitalism, in which corporations snuggle up tight to the government that ostensibly is supposed to be keeping them in line. The result is that they get everything they want from a compliant, bought-and-paid-for government (most certainly not of/by/for the people, that’s for sure). But even then, they STILL hate the government, as evidenced by the comments by Dominion’s “Director of Media Relations.” Next year, when Virginia’s General Assembly takes up ethics reform legislation, crap like this should be Priority #1 to remedy. More broadly, the legislature should tell Dominion to take their money, shove it far up their hindquarters, and then proceed to completely change their business model going forward. Even better, how about we “lock the door and throw away the key” on Dominion Virginia Power itself, given that they’re probably doomed anyway?