Interviews like the following (see audio, below), with Dominion “Senior Communications Executive” Ann Nallo on Trumpster radio (“The John Fredericks Show”) yesterday, honestly make me think that the only answer in the end is going to be to break up Dominion. The problem is that this is a rogue, out-of-control company that simply refuses to tell the truth, to acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis, or even to recognize that Virginia energy policy – including the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in the 2020 legislative session – is moving strongly away from fossil fuels. Just a few falsehoods in this one interview include:
- First off, the Supreme Court decision on Monday regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) crossing the Appalachian Trail does not mean that it’s all systems go for the ACP, or that it will be “in service for customers” by “early 2022,” as the Dominion spokesperson claims. In fact, as Virginia attorney Jon Sokolow, who is a leading activist against this pipeline, writes, “Dominion lacks at least 7 permits needed for construction and is under a stop work order that will largely be unaffected by this ruling.”
- Second, it is utterly false that natural gas is “clean energy,” as the Dominion spokeperson falsely states not once but twice in this interview. In fact, as this National Geographic article explains, natural gas contains the “super-potent warming gas” known as methane, which is released during the fracking process. How potent? “On a 20-year timescale, a methane molecule is roughly 90 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than a molecule of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that wields the most control over Earth’s future warming in the long-term.” And, depending on the leakage rate of methane during fracking, transport, etc., it’s possible that natural gas could be the same or even *worse* than coal from a climate point of view. Regardless, no matter how one looks at it, in no way/shape/form is natural gas – a dirty fossil fuel – “cleaner” than energy efficiency, solar, wind, or even nuclear power (which emits zero greenhouse gases). In fact, the ACP would “be responsible for nearly 68 million metric tons of climate pollution annually, equivalent to 20 coal plants or 14 million vehicles on the road.” Ugh. And, according to the Sierra Club, “t greenhouse gas pollution from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would be almost twice the total climate-changing emissions from existing power plants and other stationary sources in Virginia.” So…Dominion is just completely wrong on this, yet they have been consistently spewing out this Big Lie for years now. Why is this “state-regulated” company allowed to do that?!? It’s infuriating.
- It’s also not accurate that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be a significant boost to jobs or economic activity, certainly not relative to other options, such as clean energy. Note that wind and solar are among the nation’s fastest-growing jobs, and will continue to grow for decades to come as these industries scale up, while natural gas basically has no long-term future. Also note that, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center, “The notion that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will result in 17,000 jobs in Virginia is so utterly misleading that when pressed, even Dominion Energy admits it arrived at this number by taking the approximately 2,800 jobs expected during the development and construction phase across three states, multiplying it by six years, and calling it ‘cumulative jobs’. In fact, Dominion’s own 2014 economics report shows that when all is said and done this project will result in only 271 jobs — and that’s across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.” In other words…yep, Dominion L-I-E-S.
The biggest puzzle is why Dominion Energy, faced with a future where the answer is almost certainly not going to be natural gas or any other fossil fuel, keeps pushing ahead with a massive, new, multi-billion-dollar natural gas pipeline project. It’s certainly not because Virginians need it. So what’s going on? Perhaps what Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Will Cleveland suggested back in 2018, that Dominion is “a regulated utility using its captive customers to bear all the risk of a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that the utility has never studied whether it needs it and the utility is going to make customers pay for it regardless of whether they ever use it.” Sweet, eh?