Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Protest Dominion Power?

Environmentalist protesters blockaded the Dominion HQ in Richmond. The coverge in the RTD focused on the logistics of the protest, its effect on corporate employees, and included dismissive notes about the ages of the participants. Only two sentences at the end of the article mention their motives or any allusions to their supporting arguments.
Blue Ridge Earth First!, along with another group called Mountain Justice, say the proposed $1.8 billion plant would emit too much mercury and carbon dioxide into the air, promote strip mining for coal in Southwest Virginia and cost consumers too much for electricity. They also protested Dominion’s possible plans to build a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna power plant in Louisa County.
To find out more about the reasoning for these activists' direct action in opposition to polution-causing coal plants, take a look at their blog right here (including more recent updates). Their perspective is pretty widely shared and really should get more attention. In fact, according to a local blog commentator:
Gray at June 29, 2008 12:07 am :

Okay this is off the subject of city council candidates and please, anyone, feel free to correct any mistakes I make here because I’m writing this from the top of my head and I’m not an environmentalist.

In the past week, James Hansen, NASA climate expert, told congress that if we don’t starting doing something today to reduce CO2 in the world, in ten years “we will be toast” –it will be too late then to reverse the catastrophic climate changes that will occur. He says we should start with getting rid of coal burning plants immediately. They put off more CO2 than gas. Virginia Dominion Power wants to open a coal burning plant in Wise county, VA. Go here. Robert Grey, one of Richmond’s mayoral candidates, is being backed by Dominion Power chief, Tom Farrell (go here).

I know that the mayor has no power over what happens in Wise County or with State issues, but this corporation is wanting to install the very thing that is frying the world. If I were a mayoral candidate, I wouldn’t want the devil backing me.
I'm sure there will be loads of fallout about the tactics of the protest. But the issues behind the action must remain on the table. For more coverage, check out: Southern Studies and "It's Getting Hot in Here."


  1. well, one thing they did accomplish by their protest - they got about 5000 people to idle their cars for an hour Monday morning.

    Traffic was stopped on the downtown expressway, and sidestreets were backed up to grace. Why protest the tiny office at the end of the road when you have the giant Dominion building off the interstate? IF they were looking for coverage, that would have been a better site.

    They want to stop the coal plants, good. But why protest a nuclear plant. They are clean, and the new reactors reuse old waste and significantly reduce the ecological impact. We are not viable for solar, wind, or hydro power here - how do they think we will get power?

    Oh -- they also left bags of donuts, trash, plastic water bottles, and other crap by their protest site. I saw park and recreations people cleaning it up around 12:00 yesterday. So in my book, they fail on their attempt to promote environmental change.

  2. A friend pointed out to me that he suppored the protest, because we need to do whatever is necessary to slow down the global warming trend. However, humanity is basically demanding more and more energy. It's only natural that the private sector (Dominion) is going to meet the need. If we can get people to reduce their energy use habits, then the private sector will follow. Hmmmm... That's one approach.

    As for nuclear power, I'm not too jazzed about it. I just can't help thinking that there's got to be a safer alternative. Regardless, of either argument (or donut wrappers, that could have been left by police, mind you) I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that "Dominion Power" is no friend of the environment and they're public behavior amounts to corporate bullying to say the least (yeesh, the name alone should raise red flags). When their HQ gets a bit of negative press, I don't think Richmonders should be so quick to sweep it under the rug.

  3. article was written by micheal martz

  4. Idhoe: Your point? I linked to the article. The comments that follow it are mostly favorable and thoughtful. Nice that the RTD allows feedback represented on their site. The coverage also should have mentioned that Dominion has been the subject of an ongoing campaign against their mountain top removal coal extraction in Appalachia.

  5. While it’s great that these youth are choosing to participate instead of sitting on the sidelines, it’s quite sad that they are being misinformed about nuclear energy - the MVP in the fight against global warming.

    As for coal, I can’t defend it. Even if all of the SOx, NOx, and mercury could be filtered out, the CO2 is still a problem. And even if the CO2 could be sequestered, the destructions of mountains is still a problem. And even if the destructions of mountains wasn’t necessary…

    Hmmm… Well. That’s two impossible things, now isn’t it.

    But what about nuclear power? It’s as if they went down there to protest the new coal facility and some anti-nuke posted a sticky-note on their cause which said, “Oh, by the way: No New Nukes either.” It seems as if it's an afterthought.

    And why not nuclear? Has commercial nuclear power killed even one person in the United States? In a cost per kilowatt hour scenario, is it not among the lowest cost producers? When compared to all other sources of baseload electrical generation is it not among the lowest CO2 emitters? I’m talking life-cycle emissions, not just production.

    And the waste? Considering that the tiny amount that it generates and the ability to recycle it, I’d say that waste is one of the best things going for nuclear energy.

  6. People who don't share somebody else's opinion are always "misinformed". Nuclear power generates nuclear waste. Period. Where are you going to put it? Answer: in the backyard of whoever has the least political pull.

    Good to see that direct action is still alive in Richmond! Government will not solve these problems.

  7. Recycling nuclear waste? You mean like in depleted uranium?


  8. What? Nuclear power generates waste? Hmmm..

    All power sources generate waste. Fossil fuels generate all kinds of it. Even renewables are guilty. I suppose the toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are generated from solar power production are welcome in your back yard?

    Nuclear waste is not waste at all. Check out the recycling program in France (80% nuclear) and Japan (30% nuclear).

  9. By no means take my word for it. Please, take the time and educate yourself on the power source before taking a stand against it.

    North Anna Power Station operates a visitor's center daily from 8 to 4:30. I think you might be surprised at some commonly held misconceptions about nuclear power.

    I’d also encourage anyone to take a tour of North Anna. Unit one just celebrated its 30th anniversary of supplying clean and reliable, 24/7 power to the state of Virginia. And all of the waste (what little there is of it) is packaged neatly on site, ready for recycling.

  10. Picard6:43 PM

    My suggestion is that if you don't like power is to shut off your computer, cell phone, TV and the rest of your electronic toys. Being green means living green and doing without.

    Oh yeah, shut off your lights and start walking.

    If you are going to talk the talk, walk the walk, seriously.


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