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Video: CCAN’s Harrison Wallace Declares, It’s Time We “Grab the Wheel from Dominion and Put Them in the Backseat for Good”

"Once we win, we can turn towards a just and equitable path towards 100% clean energy."

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Great job last night in Richmond by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) – Mike Tidwell and Harrison Wallace (Virginia Director of CCAN) – making the case why it’s long past time for Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

As Mike Tidwell put it, “we have a decade to completely start turning the ship around, to cut emissions in Virginia and worldwide in half…we need big solutions…this is a good start…joining RGGI is like a baseline, we got to do it.” And as Harrison Wallace explained, “if we can’t do it in our own backyards, how are we going to change the world?…So we at CCAN are fighting for an equitable energy future, where dirty fuels are phased out and Virginia is powered by 100% clean energy; where communities that are now sacrificed by the fossil fuel industry have won the freedom to decide where their energy comes and how it’s used; and where vulnerable communities are protected from the worst impacts of climate change…there are clean and renewable ways to get our energy and they’re getting pretty cheap.” Wallace added (bolding by me for emphasis):

“If we know that this is a problem and we know there are real solutions and we know we’re running out of time, then why in the world aren’t we doing anything bold and ambitious in Virginia? And the answer to this complicated problem can be summed up in two words – Dominion Energy. The electric monopoly has been using their image and money to write the very rules that we have to play by in our regulated state. And those rules are written so that Dominion makes more money the more they build. And that’s why they’re racing to build more pipelines and more fracked gas infrastructure.
So this event is called “From Pipelines to Progress,” because we need to move in a new direction…and Dominion’s motive is not to save the planet or to cut down on pollution, it’s to make more money for their executives and their shareholders. And the biggest rate of return comes from expensive projects like pipelines and power plants…For every new mile of pipeline, for every new power plant, monopolies like Dominion are not only contributing to that next thousand-year storm or wildfire, but also to that asthma attack or that missed day of school in your community…In climate terms, the ACP and the MVP are like adding 45 new coal plants to our region; that’s right, 45 new dirty, asthma-inducing coal plants.
And Dominion pressured Virginia lawmakers and regulators into believing that we need them…[Fracked gas] is really just a bridge to energy profit for energy monopolies like Dominion…Their plan is to sell the gas from Dominion to Dominion – no ratepayers are in that equation – and they’re going to make a heck of a lot of profit doing it…we are footing the bill…
This isn’t all bad. Things are changing. Dominion sees the writing on the wall. They’ve seen the studies from the climate scientists. They’ve seen the growing number of elected leaders who recognize them we must move away from fossil fuels and move away from their campaign donations. And they’ve seen the opposition to the Buckingham compressor station. And no matter how much money – and they’ve thrown a lot of money at it or political capital they throw at the situation – people across Virginia continue to band together and resist this project. And when it comes to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline as a whole, well they’ve seen so much opposition that the price has ballooned over initial estimates about 1 billion dollars…
Now this is our watershed moment. This is it. We can grab the wheel from Dominion and put them in the backseat for goodIt begins with Virginia joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas InitiativeOnce we win, we can turn towards a just and equitable path towards 100% clean energy.”