Late yesterday, when of course almost nobody was paying any attention, our pals at Dominion "Global Warming Starts Here!" Power issued the following statement, "accepting responsibility" for their oil spill into the Potomac River (which, so far, has killed 21 birds and injured many more).
Dominion has reviewed the oil testing data conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. We concur with their findings that the substance was transformer mineral oil and we accept responsibility. As we have stated from the very beginning when we were made aware of the oil sheen, we would have no hesitancy in accepting responsibility should testing link our January 24 transformer spill to the sheen. We will move with all due haste to work with the agencies to ensure the remaining cleanup work is done.So...great that Dominion is "accepting responsibility" for its oil spill into the Potomac River, right? Well sure, except for several problems.
- Let's see if Dominion pays up for the damage it caused, including for "the cost of the response and cleanup" and "the rescue and rehabilitation of impacted birds." I mean, this is a company which has spent nearly $14 million over the years buying up the Virginia political system, so they clearly have the money to burn. Of course, having bought the Virginia political system, will there be any pressure on them?
- Continuing with that last thought, note that since this story broke on February 4 (actually on Feb. 3 in Red Brick Town) - nearly two whole WEEKS after Dominion's "13,000-gallon spill at its Crystal City substation Jan. 24" - I've heard VERY little comment from either Dominion Power or relevant elected officials, whether in Arlington County (where the spill originated nearly three weeks ago, yet I see absolutely NOTHING about this on the Arlington County website!) or in the Virginia General Assembly, with the exceptions of Del. Mark Levine (who looked into this situation and pointed his finger at Dominion on February 6) Sen. Scott Surovell (who has been on top of Dominion's coal ash pollution, as well as this situation, writing earlier today that this "incident raises questions about community notification") and Sen. Adam Ebbin (who has posted on Facebook and tweeted multiple times about this situation). As the Potomac Conservancy wrote on Tuesday:
- As far as Dominion is concerned, their initial reaction was FAR from accepting responsibility. To the contrary, they denied it, with a spokeperson claiming that "there is no evidence that the oil in the river involved the utility." Except that there was TONS of evidence when the spokesman made that fallacious statement, including the fact that Dominion had known since January 24 that it had experienced a 13,000-gallon oil spill at its substation located just a few blocks from Roaches Run, where the oil was eventually discovered.
The lack of communication and tepid response from government agencies so far is frustrating...Pollution is alarming in and of itself and the impact on wildlife is devastating. But the lack of accountability and almost nonexistent response to this spill is most disturbing....Why has the public been kept in the dark? Why have so many critical details about this spill remained unanswered for nearly a week? Why is no one being held accountable for polluting the Potomac River?
The bottom line is that Dominion Power, as is almost always the case when it comes to just about anything other than keeping the power on, is highly evasive and certainly not to be trusted. When it comes to environmental protection, they're way beyond evasive and untrustworthy. As the Chesapeake Climate Action Network put it yesterday afternoon:
Earlier this week, we learned Dominion illegally dumped 33.7 million gallons of coal ash into Quantico Creek in May, and today we learned they caused the oil spill that has killed dozens of waterfowl in a wildlife sanctuary on the Potomac. It's clear Dominion has a deep disregard for the rivers and land in our region, this leak is just another example of why we need to #DumpDominion."Deep disregard for the rivers and land in our region" pretty much sums it up, except that I'd add the words "air quality," "climate" and "planet" to that list. Just a horrible, horrible company all around.