How horrible is Dominion Energy? Here are a few recent news items that basically answer the question, but you can decide for yourself. Enjoy!
First off, yesterday Reuters reported that ExxonMobil just “ended its association with the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], a conservative political group that several other prominent U.S. corporations have left in recent years.” Reuters added that ALEC “has lost dozens of members, including BP, Royal Dutch Shell Group, Ford Motor, and Expedia Group” over the past few years, in part over “its stance on climate change, tort reform and gun control.” Those stances, by the way, are uniformly far right, way out of the mainstream of the American public, not to mention science in the case of man-made climate change.
Reuters further noted that “Exxon’s decision not to renew its membership followed a split with the lobby group last year over the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.” In other words, ALEC is so crazy and awful that even ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, etc. can’t take it any more…but Dominion is comfortable remaining a member of this group? That, my friends, is what is known as “seriously f’ed up.”
So that’s the ALEC story, which in and of itself is sufficient to understand where Dominion is coming from. But wait, there’s more! This Wednesday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that “Dominion Energy’s tenfold increase in spending to influence Virginia politicians was prompted by the spread of ‘fake news and propaganda perpetuated by anti-energy groups.'” That’s right, Dominion’s spokesman, David Botkins – yeah, this guy – actually said that Dominion was stepping up its “education outreach” (hahahahaha) “to break through the fake news and propaganda perpetuated by anti-energy groups.” And what WAS that “fake news and propaganda,” exactly? Perhaps Dominion isn’t happy with accurate, fact-based reporting on the environmental damage – and other consequences, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s/Dominion’s environmental racism, which Jon Sokolow wrote about last July – which the company’s massive new fracked-gas pipeline is causing. The truth hurts, I guess.
Dominion’s spending increase on pro-corporate propaganda and lobbying, by the way, included “more than $1 million on lobbyists, entertainment, meals and communications from May 2017 to the end of April…about 10 times what the company said it spent in last year’s filing.” The company was also busy hiring up “lobbyists from McGuireWoods, Reed Smith and Williams Mullen, three of the top lobbying firms in Virginia,” as well as “David Hallock, a close political adviser to Gov. Ralph Northam, as an outside lobbyist.” Heck, Dominion even hired away the long-time, pro-Dominion (to a laughable degree), hard-right editorial page editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Why did Dominion do all this? First, obviously, because the company knows it can get away with it in our state of legalized corruption. Second, because Dominion has gobs of money – thank you Dominion ratepayers! – to do this stuff. Third, because the company clearly wanted the General Assembly to pass legislation highly favorable to them, and that’s exactly what they got, with the help of enablers like Dick Saslaw, Frank Wagner, Terry Kilgore, etc. And, my guess is, because Dominion was clearly freaked out by the intense opposition and hostility to their Atlantic Coast Pipeline activities. Charming, eh? What a company!
P.S. Oh yeah, almost forgot…Dominion wants to cut down a 300-year-old tree in Bath County to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.