Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Corporate Polluter round-up and 2nd Quarter profits: TVA, Dominion Power, & Massey Energy

Last week, the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) admitted culpability in the Fly Ash Sludge spill into the Emory River after the release of a stinging report highlighting a string of failures, deficiencies, and internal cultural problems. It’s kind of hard to hide millions of cubic yards of toxic coal fly ash when it ends up in the yards and homes of residence along the river and it comes from your facility. Estimates put the clean-up of the spill to be around $1 billion. I wish that Dominion Power would follow the lead of the TVA, concerning the situation with the coal ash construction fill that has contaminated the well water of the residence around the Battlefield Golf Course.

Dominion Power is asking a Chesapeake, VA judge to throw out the $1 billion lawsuit filed against them by nearly 400 residence affected by the toxic contamination of their well water. According to the motion to dismiss, if the judge refuses to dismiss the suit Dominion Power would like a change of venue because it feels that “the jury pool and any trial proceedings in this jurisdiction would be tainted.” Dominion also feels that the residence have not proven that specific injury or harm has been done to individual residence, and also that the fault lies with the construction company that built the golf course. I guess it doesn’t matter that Dominion Power kept an internal study secret about the potential environmental impact from the use of fly ash as construction filler, for SEVEN YEARS.

I find this astonishingly arrogant and callous on the part of Dominion Power. It’s their fly ash from their Coal Fired Power Plant at the Deep Creek facility, they had a study that said this would happen, they don’t think the residence have a case and if the lawsuit is not dismissed, they feel the jury pool is contaminated because of all the bad press they have gotten. Dominion Power coal ash contaminates well water, and potentially drinking water for the City of Chesapeake (who gets about half of their drinking water from the Northwest River which is very close to the golf course) and they are afraid that the pool of potential jurors would be contaminated? That’s a good one. Well, I guess when you have deep pockets to file motions like this when it’s pretty clear Dominion Power engaged in a cover-up of the original study to get the toxic fly ash off their hands and committed fraud when they presented the more favorable study to the Chesapeake City Council back in 2001, that it cost less to do it this way than to do the right thing.

It appears that the lawsuit that Massey Energy is involved with against Harmon Mining isn’t affecting its bottom line too much. Massey Energy will post a 2nd Quarter profit of $20.2 million, citing an 8% increase in its coal shipments (which Dominion Power is a likely recipient). No real connection here to the other stories except that it’s coal related. Just thought this was interesting.

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