As someone who is actively opposing the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, I wonder who exactly is in favor of something that is unnecessary, ill-conceived and extremely dangerous.

I have seen that elected officials from both sides of the aisle in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia have sent a letter of support to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the ACP. I wonder: “Who are these guys and what are their interests?”

Oil Change International — a research organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels — reports that these 16 elected officials have received over $675,000 in campaign contributions from the pipeline’s would-be owners, Dominion and Duke Energy, over the course of their careers as state legislators (priceofoil.org/2017/04/14/not-news-politicians-take-hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars-from-pipeline-companies-sign-letter-supporting-pipeline-project/).

Dominion has also invested heavily in the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race. Dominion’s executives, lobbyists, board members and PAC have given a total of $109,283.30 to Democrat Ralph Northam and his PAC and $43,125.00, to Republican Ed Gillespie and his PAC (energyandpolicy.org/dominion-bets-big-establishment-candidates-northam-gillespie-virginia-gov-race/).

It is curious that an energy company that holds a public service monopoly throughout most of Virginia must resort to using ratepayer income to service legislators on its payroll, to fund philanthropic donations that communities become addicted to, and to finance public-relations advertising campaigns such as the one that touts the so-called “benefits” of the ACP. I can’t help but wonder what percentage of customers’ bills goes to servicing these expenses. What would consumer electricity rates look like without them?

I am grateful that this has become a campaign issue in the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. But I wish that Dominion and Duke Energy would invest in the people who use their services, service their debt, and pay their bills every month — instead of buying legislators dependent on their addictive donations in order to maintain the companies’ grip on Virginia and North Carolina governments. 

Ernest Q. Reed, Nelson County

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