Coalition Press Release: Don’t Believe the Hype: No Decision Has Been Made!

Executive director says: “The fight isn’t over – Coalition response puts entire project in doubt.”

Haymarket, Virginia (September 26, 2017) – On the same day that the Coalition and Somerset Crossing submitted arguments challenging the very need for the project, Dominion Virginia Power recommended their original position, that its regulator – the State Corporation Commission (SCC) – approve Amazon’s private extension cord along the “I-66 Overhead” route.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated bluntly, “I have to make this as clear as possible for the community: Don’t think you are safe.  Some media outlets have reported this battle is over. Don’t believe the hype – every and any route is on the table.”

“And we know this because we have been here before,” Schlossberg continued. “Dominion requested the “Overhead I-66” alternative in June – then the SCC said, ‘no’ and selected the Carver Road route, another route no one was advocating. The SCC might change its mind. Or it might not. Dominion can ask all it wants. The SCC – alone – selects the route.”

“The danger is real,” Schlossberg added, “The SCC can hurt the hundreds of residents who live along the “I-66 Overhead” route, as Dominion wants. Or the SCC can tell Dominion, ‘The answer is still ‘no.’ Try a different route.’ Or the SCC could target any one of the other previously considered alternatives: Northern, which hits both densely populated Piedmont and Heritage Hunt; New Road, which slices through homes in the Rural Crescent; and Western, which pushes through historic Buckland. Or the SCC can create another route out of thin air.”

Schlossberg noted, ”Of course, Dominion doesn’t care whose bottom line it hurts, as long as it’s not its own. All Dominion’s request does is urge the SCC to avoid the one route which is favored by residents, local county and state elected officials, and numerous state agencies – the partially-buried “I-66 Hybrid.”

Schlossberg praised the community for staying the course. “Our community has long maintained that there are only two acceptable outcomes. One, since Amazon said on the record it’s not even sure it needs the extra power, the SCC should totally reject Dominion’s argument for the project. Two, if Amazon changes its story and argues an immediate need, Amazon should pay for their own private extension cord like any other customer, along the “I-66 Hybrid” route. It’s that simple. And our previous arguments won support from the SCC staff (PUE-2015-00107 – Staff Response to Coalition request for Extension 083017).  The Coalition’s latest filing from September 22, refuting Dominion’s need argument, can be found here (Coalition’s Public Reply to Dominion’s Response to Motion for Rehearing 092217).

Schlossberg concluded, “Unfortunately, our community is back at the mercy of the SCC commissioners, who have given no indication of when they will decide this matter. And in my darker moments, I believe this chaos is visited upon us deliberately, to keep our community on edge and wondering who will be threatened next.”

“With all their missteps, Dominion’s attorneys may not be the best money can buy. But, maybe their regulators are?”