May 8th, 2012: Tuesday’s Rally for Our Clean Energy Future, held in front of the State Corporation Commission headquarters in downtown Richmond, was a great success!
Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and WISE Energy for Virginia volunteers and organizers were dressed either in blue t-shirts and green hard-hats, or in black t-shirts and dust masks. The group of about fifty people lined up on either side of a crossroads sign, with one arrow pointing towards “Dominion’s Dirty Energy Plan” and the other arrow pointing towards “Our Clean Energy Future.” The contrast was clear between the two groups and volunteers held signs demanding clean air, no more coal, and a clean energy plan from Dominion. The group broke out in chants of “What do we want?” Clean Energy! When do we want it? Now!” “When Virginian’s health is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, Fight back!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Dirty coal has got to go!”
There were three speakers at the event, which was mc’ed by Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. Dawone Robinson of Chesapeake Climate Action Network outlined the fact that Dominion’s plan lacks any mention of large-scale wind and solar projects in Virginia, and the fact that they can do better. Dr. Ravi Ghupta, Chair of INOVA’s Environmental Committee, spoke next about the health impacts of coal, including neurological damage from mercury and other neurotoxins, and industrial carbon and particulants causing asthma attacks, and urged the SCC and Dominion to consider renewables because they have none of these adverse impacts. Lastly, Jeff Ryan from Solar Services Inc., a small, solar business based in Virginia Beach spoke about the need to invest in clean energy in Virginia in order to ensure sustainable job growth, pointing out that the renewable energy sector has continued to create jobs during the recession.
Overall, the rally captured the stark contrast between Dominion’s current 15-year plan, and where we want them to be.