Report Exposes How Big Coal, Electric Utility Money Dominates Virginia Politics and Policy

Posted by Brian Sewell | October 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm


How devoted is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to dirty energy donations? Read our report to find out.

In advance of the Governor’s Energy Conference that is sponsored by Dominion Virginia Power, Alpha Natural Resources and Appalachian Power Company, Appalachian Voices and our allies released a white paper highlighting the influence that coal companies and utilities wield over Virginia energy policy.

“The top sponsors of the energy conference are also top sponsors of Virginia’s election campaigns,” said Tom Cormons, Virginia Director for Appalachian Voices. “Unfortunately, these companies dominate Virginia’s energy policy, just as they dominate the conference agenda. This harms consumers and taxpayers, and it may be the single greatest impediment to transitioning the commonwealth to a cleaner, healthier energy future.”

Analyzing more than a decade of publicly available data, the report draws the connection between the campaign contributions and corporate gifts from these and other dirty energy companies, and the poor record of Virginia in advancing energy efficiency and renewable programs compared to other states.

The report goes on to criticize the state’s voluntary Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which Chesapeake Climate Action Network Virginia State Director Beth Kemler calls “the holy grail of corporate handouts.” The misguided RPS program set marks that Dominion has been able to meet without building any wind or solar projects in Virginia. By meeting the RPS goals, Dominion qualifies for a bonus that will end up costing customers approximately $76 million over two years.

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