Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Virginia Business Leaders: Proposed Wise County Coal-Fired Power Plant "Unwise," Bad for Business

Gov. Kaine Urged to Rescind Support for Plant that Would Cost Virginia 1,500 Jobs, Compared to 300,000 Jobs Created or Supported by Renewable Energy Focus.

June 12 , 2008

Richmond, VA -- Twenty business leaders across the state of Virginia released a statement today calling on Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell to cancel plans to build a controversial coal-fired power plant in Wise County.

A joint letter from the group to Governor Kaine and the Dominion CEO noted:  “The future of my business is dependent on a cleaner, greener and competitive economy in Virginia.  Instead of investing in coal, we should be putting our money behind renewable energy projects and creating green jobs.  The pollution, toxic waste and carbon emissions that accompany coal extraction and burning will make Virginia a less competitive economy.”

The signers noted that it would be bad business for Virginia to pick dirty energy over clean energy.  According to a report released last week by the Blue-Green Alliance (http://bluegreenalliance.org/), Virginia currently has over 336,000 jobs in areas that will see increased wages and job growth by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. By contrast, the State Corporation Commission indicates that operating the Wise County Coal plant would cause a net loss of 1,476 jobs in Virginia (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/423/images/va_downwind_Carsleytestimony.pdf).

Concerned about the impact of global warming on Virginia, Better World Telecom President Matthew Bauer said, “Better World is a carbon neutral provider of communications services to over 1,000 organizations in 40 states. I am proud to provide this service from our headquarters in Reston, but if Dominion builds this controversial coal plant in Wise County, it would in effect negate all of the hard work that my company is doing to reduce carbon emissions. Renewable energy is good business for my company and it has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in Virginia. I call on Governor Kaine and Dominion to join me in investing a renewable energy economy.”

Co-op America Green Business Network Director Denise Hamler said, “Investing in coal is bad business for Virginia.  Building the Wise County coal plant will take jobs away from Virginia, increase destructive mountaintop removal mining and emit more global warming emissions than we know how to deal with.  It is time for Governor Kaine to cancel his support of this plant and instead make a serious investment in Virginia’s renewable energy economy.”

The following is the text of the open letter to Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine:

As a business leader in Virginia, an electric power consumer and concerned citizen, I strongly urge you to halt plans to build a controversial coal burning power plant in Wise County.

Coal burning power plants are a significant cause of global warming emissions, mercury pollution, and highly destructive mining. Research demonstrates that the best approach to providing clean, safe, affordable, and secure energy in this country is to invest in conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy sources.

Coal power is likely to become increasingly expensive in comparison to clean energy sources.  Regulation of carbon dioxide emissions through a pollution tax is under serious consideration in Congress right now.  Senate Majority Leader Reid recently said “There’s not a coal burning plant in America that’s clean. They’re all dirty.”  For the benefit of Dominion shareholders and Virginia ratepayers, it is prudent to take the cost of carbon pollution into consideration when determining your investments in new electricity generation.

As a business leader I am particularly concerned about coal’s impact on the communities and environment of our state.  The pollution, toxic waste and carbon emissions that accompany coal extraction and burning will make Virginia a less competitive economy.  Instead of investing in coal, we should be putting our money behind renewable energy projects and creating green jobs.  The future of my business is dependent on a cleaner, greener and competitive economy in Virginia. 

Investing in coal is bad business.  For the benefit of Dominion shareholders, the ratepayers of Virginia and our shared environment, I urge you to stop your plans to build the controversial Wise County coal plant and instead work to increase energy efficiency and make substantial investments in clean energy such as wind and solar power.”

K.D. Kidder and Neil Steinberg, Photoworks, Leesburg
Matthew Bauer, BetterWorld Telecom, Reston
Debra Claire & Amanda Chawansky, Perfect Organics, Inc, Merrifield
Henrik Sundqvist, Fisk Design, Arlington
Elizabeth Striano, A Green Footprint, Fairfax Station
Scott Stapf, The Hastings Group, Arlington
Cindy Bennett, Associate Broker, Re/Max Action Real Estate, Richmond
Ayala Sherbow, Greater Goods, Lovettsville
Cheryl Hahn, Cozy Pure, Norfolk
Kelly Haber, Healing Connections of Warrenton, LLC, Warrenton
Mark Tester, E3 Living, Ashburn
Bill Hess, Ideas on Legs, Afton
Pernilla Alex, Mrs. Lavender Cleaning & Housekeeping, Inc., Arlington
Jared Mizrahi, Blue Mountain Organics, LLC, Floyd
James Bach, Organic Fred Corporation, Bristow
Cynthia Hannan, The Green Alcove, Richmond     
Michael Penny, Savvy Rest, Inc., Charlottesville
Paige Mattson, Blue Ridge Eco Shop, Charlottesville

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