Richmond legislators choose special interest over people interest…..

When a Coalition team member discovered this obscure legislation, HB 1766, to take oversight power away from localities in southwestern Virginia, he knew it was a ploy.  Our community had been warning folks for some time, Dominion would attempt to strip away oversight power for permitting substations from localities. Knowing that our Board of Supervisors could be open to using  substation permitting power as a tool to protect their resident fighting Amazon’s extension cord in Haymarket, they were hoping to circumvent that possible obstacle.

So while Dominion feigns innocent, oh barf, we know from various sources they were telling legislators in Richmond behind closed doors that they supported HB1766 and SB 1110, while at the same time saying publicly they had nothing to do with the bill and did not support it. I know, Dominion? Talking out of two sides of their proverbial mouth?  NO, that  simply is impossible.  HA!!!

Citizen have been tirelessly rallying to make their voices heard, we were even successful in delaying the vote.  So for a legislator known to have a majority of the bills die in subcommittee, one must ask themselves, if this bill is so “obscure” as Habeeb described his shock that it was garnering so much attention, and there is so much opposition, why IS Habeeb so intent on passing it?

And pass it did. Yesterday. By the full house.  Now it will go to the Senate committee on Monday.  Stay tuned for next possible steps.

We have the numbers listed for all the Delegates.  Feel free to email or call your appreciation and/or your disgust. There email address and phone number is listed on our homepage.

Here is the break down of votes:

YEAS–Albo, Bagby, Bell, Robert B., Bloxom, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Cox, Davis, Edmunds, Fariss, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Heretick, Herring, Hodges, Holcomb, Hope, James, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Kory, Krizek, Landes, Leftwich, Levine, Lindsey, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Massie, McQuinn, Miller, Miyares, Morefield, Murphy, O’Bannon, Orrock, Plum, Poindexter, Price, Robinson, Rush, Sickles, Simon, Stolle, Sullivan, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Wilt, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker–67.

NAYS–Adams, Aird, Anderson, Bell, John J., Bell, Richard P., Boysko, Cole, Collins, Dudenhefer, Freitas, Hayes, Hester, Hugo, Ingram, LaRock, LeMunyon, Lingamfelter, Marshall, R.G., Minchew, Morris, Mullin, O’Quinn, Peace, Pillion, Pogge, Ransone, Rasoul, Torian, Webert, Wright–30.

ABSTENTIONS–Farrell–1.

NOT VOTING–Austin–1.

 

 

 

 

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Discussion about 2017 Legislative Session

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Breaking News! Dominion Rebuttal…….like nailing jello to a wall! No consistency!

DOMINION DIVERTS AMAZON ATTENTION, CHANGES TUNE IN SCC TESTIMONY

Executive director says: “Without Amazon, there would be no extension cord. Why is Dominion dodging?”

Haymarket, Virginia (June 13, 2016) – Dominion Virginia Power (Dominion) rebuttal witnesses tried to downplay the importance of Amazon, argued for rate-payers to subsidize an overhead extension cord, and dismissed concerns over damage to property values, State Corporation Commission (SCC) filings show.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “Since the beginning, Dominion has said the Haymarket project is about one customer. In July 2015, Dominion spokesperson Greg Mathe told local media, ‘The need is for the expansion of a high-tech sector business,’ – not residents, not even businesses, but a business – which the Washington Post later identified is Amazon subsidiary Vadata.”

Schlossberg added, “Another Dominion spokesperson, Chuck Penn, actually tried to make single-customer reliance into a joke, quipping, ‘It could be one customer, it could be 10,000 customers.’ And Dominion’s SCC filings mention the Customer dozens of times, along with a single large block load. Single. Their own application documents and expert testimony always led with the need, ‘to provide service requested by a retail electric service customer.’ A customer. That kind of consistency is not an accident.”

“But now,” Schlossberg continued, “Dominion wants to ‘unring’ that bell and dodge their own words. Sure, Dominion worries that SCC staff have suggested that what amounts to a private extension cord should be buried in the ground and paid for by the private customer, not buried in Dominion’s costs and paid for by rate-payers and property owners. Dominion’s rebuttal witnesses (their own employees), took pains to downplay the single customer, single load theme – some despite their own prior testimony. And this is on the heels of Dominion’s startling admission that their customer knew that the Haymarket site – in Dominion’s words – ‘did not qualify because it did not meet the criteria’ for Dominion’s own pre-certification process.”

“The SCC staff is not the only party giving Dominion headaches and standing in the way of Amazon’s overhead extension cord. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reaffirmed their support for the partially-buried hybrid option, while the Department of Historical Resources confirmed their support as well,” Schlossberg said. “And local property rights advocates and HOAs have noted Dominion’s responses to concerns over property value destruction amounted to ‘Could be as low as 2%, could be 12%, could be worse, we really don’t know.’ I suppose not knowing and not caring run together.”

Schlossberg concluded, “Dominion is dancing. Not because they want to dance, or because they are good at it. Dominion is dancing because they are smart enough to realize the thin ice they are on is cracking.”

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So what can YOU do NOW?   Make sure the ice underneath Dominion cracks and breaks wide open:

  1. Dominion is definitely turning up the heat for the fight coming next week in the SCC Evidentiary Hearing.  NOW is the time to turn up your donations – help us make sure we can fight effectively for the community.  Click http://www.protectpwc.org/take-action-here/donate/  to donate now!
  2. Rebut their rebuttal NOW by submitting your own comments to the SCC.

Your input to the SCC must be submitted by the June 17 cut-off date.

Follow these steps:

Go to:  http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case/PublicComments.aspx\

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Amazon Knew Haymarket Site Unsuitable, Dominion Power Admits

AMAZON KNEW HAYMARKET SITE UNSUITABLE, DOMINION POWER ADMITS


Executive director says: “Dominion knows Amazon seeks a subsidized extension cord – and so does the SCC.”

Haymarket, Virginia (June 6, 2016) – Amazon knew the Haymarket data center site was unsuitable and lacked sufficient infrastructure, new Dominion Virginia Power testimony reveals. And the State Corporation Commission (SCC) staff report released last Thursday shows they are onto the Dominion-Amazon dance.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “Our questioning led to a startling admission by Dominion. Their customer, Amazon, knew from the beginning that the Haymarket site – in Dominion’s words – ‘did not qualify because it did not meet the criteria’ for Dominion’s own pre-certification process.”

“Dominion is even distancing itself from Amazon, stating, on the record, [Amazon] ‘chose the location without seeking input from Dominion Virginia Power’,” Schlossberg added. “And the SCC staff report shows that, like the Coalition, they are fully aware of Amazon’s intentions.”

These developments are the latest in a string of victories the Coalition and allies have achieved in the legal and regulatory process. For over a year, Dominion has conceded that the Haymarket transmission line is for a single customer – and that without this customer, the project would not be pursued.

“Let me make three key points,” Schlossberg said. “First, Dominion admits their customer knew the site was unsuitable. Amazon can’t say they didn’t know. Second, Dominion and the State Corporation Commission (SCC) agree that without Amazon, ‘there would be no need for the Project.’ Amazon can’t say they’re not responsible. Third, the SCC is suggesting Amazon should pay a significant portion of what amounts to a private extension cord. Amazon, you won’t be subsidized by rate-payer dollars and residents’ property values.”

“The Coalition’s argument has always been that Amazon should be treated like any other private customer. Just like a homeowner who builds far away from suitable infrastructure, Amazon should pay for what everyone admits is a private benefit,” Schlossberg continued. “And like a homeowner, what they build should not hurt other people’s property. It appears the SCC staff understands – and embraces – this argument.”

Schlossberg concluded, “Since the beginning, the Coalition and our allies have called out Amazon for laying low, secretly seeking to play by different rules, and receive special treatment. These latest revelations show that from the start, Amazon has sought a rate-payer subsidy and a free pass to punish property values with its overhead extension cord. I can understand why Dominion does not want to shield them – and why the SCC staff is echoing our concerns, asking blunt questions, and taking a hard, objective stance.”

“This is a smoking gun – and the smoke goes all the way from Richmond to Seattle,” Schlossberg added.

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Tell BOCS, vote yes to fix outrageous zoning, no more immediate approval for data centers in stupid places!

The zoning that allowed the Amazon Data Center Campus must be updated.  But for county’s lack of oversight on these massive industrial uses like Data Centers, this debacle in Haymarket would not have unfolded as it did, with a complete lack of transparency!

By asking for the Board’s unanimous support for this ZTA, you are simply reaffirming support of their stated goal, in the resolution they passed unanimously on August 4th, 2015, “Prince William County’s Resolution to Support Protections of Private Property”:

8. Declare its intent to immediately initiate zoning text amendments to incorporate appropriate zoning requirements for Data Centers which would address the infrastructure necessary to support such uses and the potential impacts to other properties.

Citizens have invested thousands of volunteer hours to raise awareness and to protect not just their neighborhoods, but the entire community that has found itself fighting to protect THIER home investments, those very investments that will be decimated if Amazon’s  massive transmission line/extension cord is approved above ground.

In this country, owning a home is THE single biggest investment most citizens make, the loss of that equity for so many will be devastating.  No one considered the destructive ramifications of putting the Amazon Data Centers in an area with NO supportive power infrastructure.

It’s so simple, just click to send on this link and you can let the entire Board of Supervisors know that common sense planning protects everyone, business and private citizen alike!

**  In addition to sending the easy click to send email – please also come to the McCoart Building (1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA), 7:30 PM, on May 17 to PERSONALLY tell the Board why this is needed, and that you want them to unanimously approve Alternative A. 

 

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Citizens Escorted Out By State Police, School Refuses to Allow Court Proceeding to Continue Past 10:30 pm

Several Hundred Haymarket/Gainesville Residents, once again, braving dangerous weather conditions, this time it was hail and high winds, proved that even mother nature will not dissuade us from making our voices heard.

But you know what can interfere?

A School Custodial Staff that did not understand the SCC hearing was the same as a legal court proceeding.

At 10:25, the lights went out, and the state police told us we had to leave.  Amidst the outcries of citizens who had not been afforded their chance to speak to the Hearing Examiner AND SCC Commissioner, they were told by the state and local police, “Sorry, we don’t know what choice we have, you have to go”.

One resident said, “I can write a check for 10 grand right now, just let me stay and speak, I waited hours for my turn!”……to no avail, into the cold and rainy night we were forced.

Even more outrageous, was we had a Supervisor there, Supervisor Lawson, but she was unable to prevail upon the State Police or Battlefield Custodial staff the magnitude of interfering with “due process”.

Here is a summary of what DID occur during the hearing.  The level of testimony was outstanding.  I will post several of the documents and letters that were read into the public record.  If it wasn’t clear prior to last night, it is crystal clear now, the citizens are  well versed in the travesty that is facing this community.  Evidence clearly showed that Dominion Power, Amazon Web Services, and our very own PWC Economic Development Department colluded to sneak in these massive data centers and hide them from the community.  It is clear, but for the sheer will and determination of the citizens, they might have gotten away with it.

And continue to fight we will!! This is not over yet.  The citizens and the Coalition are having an effect on the questions being asked by the SCC and requiring that this become a transparent process, something that was clearly woefully missing for far too long!

While there will be no more public hearings here in Haymarket, you can still submit your comments up until June 17th and there will be a public hearing in Richmond on May 10th.

 

 

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FINAL Local SCC Hearing, May 2nd, 7 pm Battlefield…PACK THE HOUSE

On May 2nd, 7 pm, at Battlefield High School, citizens will take advantage of our last opportunity, here in Haymarket, to make our voices heard once again!

Dominion Power and Amazon Web Services, along with poor county land use policy,  all bear responsibility for the crisis that thousands of citizens are facing in the Haymarket and Gainesville area!

It has become abundantly clear, that without the proposed Amazon Data Centers, Dominion Power would not be able to prove the need for this transmission line and substation.

This last local hearing is also unique in that Congresswoman Comstock was able to prevail upon one of the SCC Commissioners (one of THE decision makers in this case), to come and listen to the citizens!

So the community needs to fill that auditorium like we did in January of 2015!!

Our unified message remains the same…….I66 and Buried and Amazon pays!!!

 

 

 

 

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Chuck Penn, Dominon Power Spokesperson, ADMITS in Interview, Power need all for ONE Customer!

 

There is no question that Vadata ,solely owned by Amazon, and the owner of the Haymarket property, is the customer Chuck Penn refers to in this interview.

If Amazon wants to locate at the base of the Bull Run Mountains, then be prepared to pay for your own power!

 

 

 

 

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Make sure you send the SCC your comments! Take 10 minutes out of your hectic day and ensure your voice is heard!

We have just figured out that there have only been 105 comments submitted online since 12/11/15, when the SCC established the on-line site for the Haymarket transmission and substation project.

This isn’t going to be enough – Surely we can do better than this!

This project impacts thousands of us across the Haymarket, Gainesville, Catharpin, and Brentsville greater community.   The SCC needs to hear from thousands of us SOMEBODIES doing something about what we care about, not just 100.  This is our opportunity to speak our minds and let the SCC commissioners, who will make the decision, know what we want our fate to be.

IT’S EASY – HERE ARE THE STEPS:

Submit your comments by visiting this SCC page at http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case/PublicComments.aspx and locating our case PUE-2015-00107 as shown below. Your comments will be officially logged as part of the public record for the case.  (BE CAREFUL to select the PUE-2015-00107 case – not the 2016 case!)

  1. Go to http://www.scc.virginia.gov/case/PublicComments.aspx
  2. Find the Haymarket line and substation case: PUE-2015-00107 (see arrow below)
  3. Click on Submit Comments (see arrow below)
  4. When you have completed the form, submit the information for inclusion in the case file.

SCC comments steps

Each one of you is a “somebody” in this County who matters and makes a difference.  Let’s put our pens where our mouths are, to fight for our families and for what we hold dear throughout our community.

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Why hast thou abandoned your citizens Prince William County?

 

Just in case people have not yet heard, Prince William County government has withdrawn its status as a formal Respondent to our Transmission line fight.  What does this mean?  It means our government no longer has a “seat at the table” to defend our interests, which are ultimately, also their interests.

When the County filed to be a respondent they said this in their statement:

4. As the governing body of the sole county through which the proposed line would be built, the Board is an “interested party” in this proceeding, as that term is defined in § 56-46.1(D), VA Code Ann.

5. Pursuant to 56-46.1(A), VA Code Ann., the Board hereby requests that the Commission give consideration to Prince William County’s Comprehensive Plan (the “Comprehensive Plan”) during its evaluation of the Application. The proposed overhead routes would contravene many of the goals and policies lawfully established by the Comprehensive Plan, and would threaten unmitigated adverse impacts on scenic assets, as well as the rural character of the area.

6. The Board therefore intends to participate in this matter in order to protect the interests of the County, its residents, and the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

In their motion to withdraw they simply said this:

The Board respectfully requests that it be permitted to withdraw its Notice of Participation in this matter.

Are you wondering how our neighboring counties, Fauquier and Loudoun, responded to their citizens in the most recent controversial power line fight?  Their county governments were official respondents in those cases – to the bitter end.

So who CAN the community depend on?

Their neighbors, that is who.   I am also confident there are Supervisors that will continue, as our community elected leaders,  to help provide testimony for the public record.

The Coalition, Somerset Crossing, and Heritage Hunt will continue to work tirelessly to protect the western end of Prince William County, to protect our quality of life at the foot of Bull Run Mountain.

Let me leave with this final thought.  Although the PWC BOCS does not now have a seat at the table, they CAN provide other testimony into the public record.  In fact, I am very hopeful that is indeed what they WILL do that in order to participate in protecting the very people who are the most at risk, through no fault of their own, because of the County’s free for all zoning for Data Centers.

Stay tuned, in the very near future we will be sharing what those action items will look like!

 

 

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