Dirty, dishonest, Dominion Energy – the principal company backing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – is holding their annual shareholders meeting (AGM) online tomorrow, May 6. They hope that because the meeting is online this year, due to the pandemic, that we’ll stay home and not pressure them to stop investing in fossil fuels, especially the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, like we have in the past
Dominion’s wrong – and we’re showing up online tomorrow right before the shareholder meeting to give them a piece of our mind. Can you join us?
So, tomorrow, before their shareholders meeting, we’ll gather online and make some noise telling Dominion and their shareholders that it’s time to divest from fossil fuels and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Join us tomorrow (May 6) at 8:30 am before the shareholders’ meeting on zoom to take action. Together we’ll post on social media, call executives and take online action! We’ll hear reports and briefings from experts and shareholder advocates and give you all the info and talking points you need.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
But despite all these problems, Westinghouse wants a license to operate for another 40 years, and they want it early! Their current license doesn’t expire until 2027, but they’re worried that the failure of the VC Summer nuclear plant, and a change in leadership in Congress or the White House, could turn the public against the nuclear industry. So they’re trying to force the issue now, while they think nobody is paying attention.
Reports say that the facility is unlikely to clean up it’s past spills or stop new ones if their permit is renewed. It’s outrageous for the NRC to give a toxic nuclear plant with this many problems another 40 year license to pollute.
If the NRC is serious about public health, they should deny this early renewal application and conduct a more detailed environmental impact statement. They also should require Westinghouse to go at least one full year without an accident or spill before they are allowed to keep operating.
Here’s a video from local activist Virginia Sanders explaining some of the pollution at the plant:
An here’s Tom Clements, a nuclear safety watchdog from Columbia, telling the NRC they didn’t study the Westinghouse plant thoroughly enough to justify a new license:
Wanted to let you know about a series of upcoming actions in North Carolina to fight back against climate change. There are forums in Charlotte, and other cities this week, and a big march this Saturday, Nov 16, in Robeson County. Check out the details below, or click here to see all the events listed at our Facebook page.
Next up, join us Saturday, Nov 16, at the MARCH FOR JUSTICE in Robeson County, NC.
Piedmont Gas (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy) is proposing to build a one-billion-cubic-foot Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and processing facility in Robeson County. This is a predominantly indigenous (Lumbee) community within an 8 mile radius of the ACP route, creating a greater risk of explosions, leaks and accidents. And it is 4 miles from the town of Maxton, a predominantly African American town, creating more racism, pollution and perpetuating decades of Environmental In-Justice.
We’re teaming up with a big coalition of local and national groups to oppose the storage facility. And on Nov 16 we will walk together in celebration of our sacred lands and waters.
Piedmont Natural Gas – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy – is requesting a rate hike from the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The rate hike will increase prices and fund the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we need a Green New Deal and a rapid transition to 100% clean energy.
Monday night about 50 of us gathered at the historic Zion baptist Church in Columbia (where Dr King once spoke) for a community supper and teach in. We had reports and stories from all over Virginia, South Carolin, North Carolina and beyond about Dominion’s dirty, dishonest past, as well as a briefing on our plans for the shareholder meeting.
Here’s some video clips of the speakers from that night
Mary Cerulli from Mothers Out Front talked about our global power as a movement working with more than $2 trillion in assets to #Divest from fossil fuels and pipelines.
Greg Yost from NC APPPL talked about the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and how the Carolinas (North and South) are connecting to stop this fracked gas pipeline.
Freeda Cathcart, Indivisible VA talked about the importance of coalitions and working together to make change:
And Finally, Rev Leo Woodberry, from the Justice First tour and New Alpha community development corporation brought it all together in a keynote address that had everyone on their feet marching in one big wave of solidarity by the end.
At the end of Rev Woodberry’s keynote, we had a community supper downstairs, where we heard some more about Justice First’s recent trip to Africa helping communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone set up solar power, and from Chief Pete of the Pee Dee Tribe who talked about struggles with environmental justice during and after the flooding from Hurricane Florence, as well as their concerns about the Atlantic Coast pipeline and harvesting of souther forests for biofuel.
Tuesday – the main event!
On Tuesday we gathered outside the Shareholder meeting and 8 shareholders were admitted in with proxies to address the meeting. The rest of us handed out about fliers And held banners outside so everyone knew our demands. At the end of the Shareholder meeting we held a press conference touching on Dominion activity inside and outside the shareholder meeting.
The SC-PSC and Dominion thought South Carolina was whipped. After years of fighting the VC Summer plant, paying the highest electricity bills in the country, and living with corporate polluters — they didn’t imagine anyone would show up to oppose them as they stole a little more, wrecked a few more communities, and continued to ignore the climate crisis.
We proved them wrong – we showed up with a team of half-a-dozen activists from South Carolina and North Carolina and took the hearing by storm. We stood up and shouted until they had to adjourn. When a PSC commissioner came out and asked us to be quiet — because he said he was undecided, and wanted to vote on a plan to add solar power to Dominion’s offer — we shouted louder until the threw us out of the building into the rain and threatened to arrest us. That commissioner, by the way, went back inside, lost every vote to add solar or accountability to the deal, and then voted for the Dominion merger anyway.
A resistance is building all across the SouthEast – to Dominion and all the oppressors. The same day we spoke out in South Carolina, Cherri Foytlin of the L’eau est La Vie camp had a tense exchange with South Carolina Regulators in Louisiana — so tense one of them knocked over a table backing away from her righteous anger. As the song says, they tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.
People in the South are rising up. So far, the corporate polluters and pipeline builders have been able to buy, cheat and steal enough power to keep us bottled up. But the day is coming when that may not work anymore.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the video where Elaine interviews some friends as we were arriving at the meeting. You can also get a good look at the dishonest Dominion lawyers, PSC commissioners and other various villains who did us wrong:
After that we headed into the hearing room and it was show time. Skip to about 11 minutes into this video (unless you want to listen to the SC-PSC congratulate itself on working hard to steal money from some of the poorest ratepayers in America with the help of one of the richest companies in the Southeast) to see the protest action, which made it onto the front page of the local paper the next day and was mentioned in numerous articles about the merger that evening and over the weekend.
And finally, check out this video of us talking in the hall with SC PSC commissioner Tom Ervin. This part might be the most crazy-making since Ervin tries to convince us he’s on our side, AND that we’re the problem (not him) at the same time. He also (dishonestly) claims he hasn’t made up his mind just a few minutes before he let us get thrown out in the rain, then went back in the hearing room and voted for the deal. Profiles in courage you are NOT Mr Ervin.
Dominion initially offered SC ratepayers a $1,000 refund check, if they were allowed to buy SCE&G, but we would still have had to pay another $2.3 billion over 20 years. That scam was a little obvious ($1,000 back in exchange for $2.3 billion?!). So Dominion changed the deal. Their latest offer is to cut rates by about $22 a month, but it will still require us to pay more than $1,600 each for the reactors before the debt is paid.*
That’s a raw deal for ratepayers. But the deal is even worse for the planet and our climate. If allowed to buy the utility, Dominion is almost certain to expand their Atlantic Coast pipeline – a community and climate-wrecking disaster that is already $1.5 billion over budget and month’s behind schedule – into South Carolina. We’re a state blessed with tremendous potential for solar, wind and offshore renewable energy. Locking in a Dominion-owned fossil fuel projects for decades is like asking many South Carolinians to sign our own death certificate, and then pay for it in monthly installments.
The SC-PSC process has never been very accessible to the public. The last time the public was allowed to comment was in October, before the current deal was even known. Without our consent, the SC-PSC now proposes to force ratepayers to pay billions of dollars to a hostile, out-of-state corporation to wreck our climate, communities and common home.