At a rally earlier today in Arlington, Virginia, speaker after speaker demanded that Dominion Virginia Power stop supporting anti-clean-energy "bill mill" ALEC (headquarters right behind the rally). Here's some video from the event, as well as highlights.
Joe Romm of Climate Progress said "what Dominion is doing through its support of ALEC is immoral" and "it is time for them to stop." ALEC is a group which allows businesses to fund legislation that "harms the public...without directly getting their hands dirty." But ALEC has been exposed in recent years for its efforts to enact stand-your-ground laws and to roll back renewable energy standards. That's resulted in dozens of major companies, including several utilities, to abandon ALEC. But not Dominion - they have worked alongside the Koch brothers on ALEC's energy and environment task force to push these dirtiest of laws. Dominion's CEO thinks there is value in supporting ALEC - he is very wrong.
Romm said that corporations are not people - they don't suffer when storm surges get intense, when droughts get longer and stronger, etc. They don't need a livable climate, but people do. "Corporations are amoral entities." We aren't, and we're in charge. Here in Virginia, where ALEC is HQ'ed, they actually feature Thomas Jefferson, implying that Jefferson would be an ALEC supporter - "not even close." In fact, Jefferson talked about "intergenerational ethics" and the importance of not "eating up the whole soil of their country." In short, "it is immoral for one generation to destroy another generation's vital soil - or its livable climate..."
We are here to protest Dominion's immoral support of ALEC. We are, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny." "Now more than ever we are tied in a single garment of destiny" - the climate that we are in the process of unraveling. "The need for activism, the need to speak out is as great as ever." Romm quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. on the "appalling silence of the good people," in addition to the "vitriolic words and actions of the bad people." It is time for Dominion to stop its "immoral" support of ALEC.
Ivy Main of the Virginia Sierra Club slammed ALEC, saying it achieves its agenda through corporations like Dominion - "the largest non-party donor to politicians in Virginia, and that's saying a lot, because Virginia has no limits on the amount of campaign contributions that corporations can give to politicians." "You can be there's a quid pro quo...when Dominion wants something, it gets it...that's why we don't have a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard...why Dominion succeeds in beating down laws that would make it easier to put up solar panels...why we don't have good energy efficiency policies." The Virginia Gen. Assembly has been called "a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Resources, and with good reason." What ALEC gets out of that is "they get their agenda legitimized by the work of corporations like Dominion that own the legislature...this is not democratic...not surprisingly that's why ALEC is anti voter as well." The customers of Dominion Power should not put up with this. It is time for Dominion to get out of ALEC.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said Dominion Power should not support ALEC. Nor, he added, should Dominion Power fund or be a member of ALEC - an organization which has expressly opposed clean energy and promoted dirty fossil fuels. Not coincidentally, Euille said, Dominion is the largest emitter of carbon pollution in Virginia. Instead, Dominion should replace its coal-fired power plants and take a proactive role in mitigating climate change by installing renewable energy and providing incentives for consumers to implement energy conservation measures and distributed power options.
Jonathan Lykes of the Black Youth Project said we have to be clear about what we're up against -- ALEC is "the crafter and the creator of legislation that is systemically oppressing a group of people in this country...furthering the worsening of our environment...would like to create more difficulties for people to vote...laws and policies in states all across the country that has said it is ok for policemen to shoot and hunt down black youth and for them to get away with it." We need to form coalitions with each other. Environmental issues, police brutality, inequality in the education, unequal health care should not be in silos...we need to work as one voice on these issues. There is a burgeoning youth movement. Organizations like ALEC with organized money can't beat organizations like us that have organized people. We need an intergenerational movement. The same issues we're fighting against today were there in 1963. Are we going to fight together or work in our silos? We need to fight together.
Jorge Aguilar of Food and Water Watch called on Dominion to quit ALEC. Aguilar said he has serious concerns about the questionable partnership between ALEC and Dominion. ALEC has worked very hard to block enviro protections, attacked labor rights, promoted voter ID laws, has also been a proponent of exempting oil and gas industry from harming our drinking water and trade secrecy laws to prevent the public from knowing the chemicals that are used in fracking. We are on the cusp of seeing what the fracking revolution will do to Virginia. The proposed gas pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia, as well as the Cove Point LNG export project, would simply increase dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels with polluted water adding insult to injury. It's time we speak out against this collusion, partnerships like the one between Dominion and ALEC that will bring so much damage to our communities and our families. Dominion needs to quit ALEC and join the 21st century clean energy revolution. It's time that Dominion starts investing in renewable energy and stop relying on carbon-based energy extraction. The time is now!
Priscilla Lin of Oceana said Dominion needs to dump ALEC. Climate change is real and we see the effects every day. "I want to live in a better, healthier and cleaner environment." Offshore wind could decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and create over 16,000 permanent jobs. ALEC and the corporations and legislators that support it skew the facts on climate and promote anti-environment agendas. ALEC does not value the health of the air we breath and the oceans we depend on. Why is Virginia's major electric utility continuing to support ALEC? Dominion has the ability and the obligation to help Virginia move towards a healthier, cleaner and better future. But Dominion's association with ALEC does not line up with its claims to care about the climate and clean, reliable energy options like offshore wind. Dominion needs to cut ties with ALEC.