Dear Coalition Members and Supporters:
Over the last two months, our opposition to a project proposed by Dominion Power for Amazon (which includes transmission lines throughout western Prince William County communities), has taken three forms:
1) Fighting regulatory loopholes in Richmond (thanks for all of your support!)
2) Working with county-level stakeholders on local avenues of action
3) Arguing against Dominion Power at the State Corporation Commission
Recently, most of what you have seen from the Coalition is around #1, but all three are in progress. This is a complicated battle, and it just got a little more so….
Regarding #3 above, as you know, the Coalition hired legal counsel that has advocated at the State Corporation Commission on behalf of the Coalition’s interests. Our argument was two-fold: since the project (including transmission lines and substation), is being built to service only one customer, that passing the cost of construction on to rate payers violates Dominion’s tariff and Virginia law; and that the partially-buried I-66 Hybrid Route is the only acceptable route. The first element of our argument presented the Commission with a novel legal question and received significant support from the Staff of the Commission. The second element has been the Coalition’s position since we entered this debate. “I-66 and buried” has been echoed by state and local elected officials, homeowners associations, businesses, and individual private citizens. Please click here: http://www.protectpwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Coalition-Response-to-Hearing-Examiner-Recommendation-120616.pdf to see the Coalition’s final legal position filed in the case.
On January 25, 2017, we received a letter from legal counsel for the Somerset Crossing HOA, also a formal respondent in the case. In this letter, Somerset’s counsel demands that the Coalition (1) refrain from stating that it represents the interests of Somerset Crossing and from soliciting funds from residents of Somerset Crossing and (2) states that the Coalition’s and Somerset Crossing’s interests have diverged.
Regarding the first element of our argument, the Somerset Crossing HOA final brief agreed with the Coalition regarding violation of Dominion’s tariff.
To the best of our understanding, the Somerset Crossing HOA’s perceived divergence comes from the second element of the Coalition’s argument. Of the 5 alternative routes which Dominion proposed in the application, the Coalition advocated for, and will continue to only advocate for, the partially buried I-66 Hybrid Route. The Somerset Crossing HOA final brief filed with the Commission on December 6, 2016 (http://www.protectpwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Somerset-Response-to-Hearing-Examiner-Recommendation-120616.pdf), similarly argued for the partially buried I-66 Hybrid Route, but added that if the Commission must choose an overhead route, the Somerset Crossing HOA prefers the I-66 Overhead Route.
The Somerset Crossing HOA has demanded that the Coalition tell you that our positions have diverged.
So, here it is: the Coalition does not represent the interests of Somerset Crossing HOA, as determined by the Somerset Crossing HOA, which has its own Board, has hired its own counsel, and pays its own legal fees. The Coalition does represent the interests of our members and supporters as articulated above, and the funds that the Coalition raises support our involvement (including legal fees) in the Commission’s proceedings. We do not agree that the Somerset Crossing HOA has the legal authority to tell us from whom we can and cannot solicit funds and in-kind contributions. And individuals have the right to support whatever organization and legal arguments they want to support.
However, to the residents of Somerset Crossing: please be advised that your HOA Board demands that we not solicit funds or in-kind contributions from you, from this point forward. In the spirit of cooperation, we will do our best to adhere to that request.
That said, the Coalition’s primary method of communication and fundraising is by email to all. Coalition emails, such as this one, are sent to those of you who voluntarily signed up to receive our messages and who gave us your email addresses; and you can easily unsubscribe at any time. Our list includes you, recipients residing throughout northern Virginia and beyond, and we do not filter our email list by geography, topic, or any other category. We simply hit “send” on all of our messages to all of you who signed up to receive all of our emails. We do not intend to alter this policy.
We will continue to work cooperatively and enthusiastically with every individual, homeowners association, and business entity that joins our effort. We hope that the Commission will agree with our legal arguments when it enters a final order in the proceeding, and that our efforts continue to bring positive results for our community.