On the morning
on June 30, 2008 activists with Blue Ridge Earth First! (BREF!) and Mountain
Justice (MJ) blockaded
the entrance to Dominion's corporate headquarters
on Tredegar St. in Downtown Richmond. They were protesting Dominion's
promotion of new coal and nuclear facilities as solutions to climate
change. The blockade consists of four activists locked to a weighted
barrel and a fifth suspended above the road.
While other states like Florida, Kansas and Texas have canceled plans
for new coal plants, Dominion plans to begin construction this week
on a new, 585 MW plant in Wise County, Virginia.
“Accelerating the rate of mountaintop removal mining to supply
the citizens of Virginia with dirty energy is an irresponsible use
of the most valuable resources of this Commonwealth. This is an issue
of environmental destruction and a crime against public health. Dominion
should further conservation and efficiency measures and develop solar,
wind, and other renewable sources of power in order to do justice to
the land and the people of Virginia.”
This blockade is the latest action from BREF! and MJ in the campaign
against the new, coal plant in St. Paul, Va, and a direct response
to the prior week’s decision from the Citizen’s Air Control
Board to approve the final two permits required for Dominion
to begin construction.
While the Air Board reduced the permitted emissions of Dominion’s proposed
plant, its members declined to address pressing issues raised by over a hundred
concerned Virginians at the June 24 hearing.
BREF! and Mountain Justice hold that when corporations, politicians,
and regulatory agencies risk the health of communities for the sake
of profit, measures beyond the accepted political avenues must be used
to ensure environmental justice. Non-violent civil disobedience, like
today’s, is an important part of citizen action to better our
Already, strip mining and mountaintop removal mining for coal have
permanently razed over 25% of Wise County VA’s land mass. The
practice has buried over 1,200 miles of headwater streams across Appalachia,
leaving leveled mountains and poisoned communities. BREF! and MJ see
the Dominion plant as a direct threat to the people and mountains of
The action was also in protest of Dominion’s plans
to expand their nuclear facilities at the North Anna plant in
Louisa Co., VA. Both nuclear and “clean coal” are false
solutions to the specter of global climate chaos. The impact
of uranium mining,
radioactive waste disposal, and nuclear plant operations on communities
across the Southeast are unacceptable trade-offs for the continuation
of business as usual energy policy. Renewable, decentralized
energy, efficiency, and conservation are the real solutions to
that must be pursued by Dominion, Virginia, and the United States.
Twelve were arrested.