I am ever thankful to companies like Dominion Virginia Power who continually remind me why government regulation is a necessity in any mature economy. Exhibit A: Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to build a $155 million, 550-Kilovolt power line east of the Colonial Jamestown settlement across the James River. Protector of Virginia’s historic landscapes and monuments: the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who concluded that Dominion’s plan would “compromise scenic integrity of historic cultural areas surrounding the river.”
According to Dominion’s website, the new power line would involve building steel towers, some 300 feet tall, from the energy giant’s Surry Nuclear Power Station on the south side of the James River to a switching station near I-64.
According to Washington Post columnist, Peter Galuszka, Dominion is arguing that it requires the 550-kilovolt power line because the company is falling behind in the Hampton Roads and Peninsula energy markets. Part of the reason for Dominion’s drop in energy production is due to its decision to shut down coal-fired power plants in Chesapeake and Yorktown. That’s typical Dominion, blame your lack of imagination on those darn environmentally concerned Virginians who demanded an end to coal power.
It’s also like Dominion to disregard Virginia’s history, among other things, in its efforts to “meet energy demand” and, of course, turn a hefty profit in the commonwealth. Don’t believe me, check this out. Dominion is so dirty that I wonder if its CEO, Thomas F. Farrell, sleeps with a lump of coal under his pillow at night.
But, you ask, what is wrong with turning a profit? There’s nothing wrong with striking it rich! However, some Americans have come to believe that earning a dollar is earning a dollar, regardless of the consequences, and I beg to differ.
There is a right way and wrong way to go about striking it rich. Did Germans who profited from the Nazi war machine earn their money in the right way? What about an energy company that has to be consistently prodded by concerned individuals to stop burning a form of carbon that is widely known to be detrimental to human health? Now, what about the way that Bill Gates struck it rich? See the difference?!
Dominion doesn’t have to be on the wrong side of the energy-production issue. But through its unswerving pursuit of ever greater profits, it has made decisions based upon its quarterly earnings statements and not the potential negative impacts of its actions, like desecrating Virginia’s historical markers! That’s what makes Dominion Virginia Power a “bad actor.” That’s why I’ll never relent in my criticism of this evil energy empire until it fundamentally reforms its business culture.