Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Should Dominion Pay?

Here's a petition the Virginia River Healers posted to Change.org...yes, another petition I'm not signing, although you might. The text of the petition appears below. A long messy link is tucked behind the last line of this post.

The petition asks the governor of Virginia to require the Dominion Power company to pay for water testing for anyone who may have been exposed to spilled coal ash material.

This sounds fair, all right; Dominion fully deserves it. But, without specific legislation ensuring that Dominion will take the financial bite all by itself without any way to pass the cost on to the customers, it won't cost the people responsible for spills and leaks Penny One. They'll probably keep their high-salaried jobs, and get automatic raises next year, right on schedule. Dominion will take that extra money out of the pockets of an underpaid sailor in Norfolk, whose three toddlers are constantly exposed to colds in day care and will lack adequate heat next winter.

I'd suggest that the River Healers identify the individuals responsible for any spills and leaks, and demand that those individuals pay, while specifically barring Dominion from raising any person's utility rates for any reason for another twenty years. Otherwise, the ones who pay will be that sailor and those toddlers.

I demand that you require Dominion Virginia Power to pay for third party professional water testing of residents’ drinking water and well water in the immediate area of coal ash ponds. This demand is for all of Dominion’s power stations that are slated for coal ash cleanup and lifetime “capping” around the commonwealth.

Following Duke Energy’s 2014 Dan River coal ash spill, the state of North Carolina required Duke Energy to pay for residential water well testing. The testing found that 93 percent of residential groundwater wells within 1,000 feet of similar coal ash ponds were contaminated with dangerous chemicals found in coal ash.

The timeline of coal ash leaching is still undetermined by inorganic chemists. Some professionals predict leaching toxins could become worse in 50+ years, leaving communities that are left with Dominion’s coal ash waste sites environmentally displaced.

If Dominion Power is going to move forward with closure plans, we demand a thorough assessment of the current condition of well water in the communities that live near coal ash ponds. Virginia residents have the environmental right to know if their water is currently safe to drink. We also demand that Dominion Virginia Power is to be held responsible for continued third party testing and monitoring of well water in the immediate area of “capped” coal ash ponds to ensure our water tables and aquifers stay protected and safe for consumption in the future.