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Anti-Fracking Activists Protest Cove Point and Dominion's Climate Risks at Shareholders Meeting

Energy

Dominion executives may have been hundreds of miles away from the site of the controversial Cove Point export facility Wednesday, but they couldn't escape the ire of those fighting against the liquefied natural gas (LNG) proposal.

The anti-fracking activists voiced their opinions outside of Dominion's annual shareholders meeting in Cleveland, OH. The Ohio Sierra Club, Ohio Student Environmental Coalition and the Energy Action Coalition organized the protest of the $3.8 million LNG site in Maryland. Activists and shareholders also presented resolutions centered around the company reducing its climate risks.

Protesters gathered in Cleveland, OH to speak out against Dominion's climate risks outside of an annual shareholders meeting. Photo credit: Chesapeake Climate Action Network/Twitter

“Climate change is already impacting Dominion’s bottom line. In fact, the company recently moved to raise electric rates for Virginia customers by over 4 percent due to rising gas prices linked to this winter’s extreme weather,” said Emily Heffling, Virginia field organizer at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) who presented a financial risk resolution. “If Dominion refuses to be part of the solution, the least the company should do is come clean on the costs to shareholders. Many other large U.S. companies are conducting assessments of business risks posed by climate change, and our resolution simply asks Dominion to provide the same transparency.

"Many other large U.S. companies are conducting assessments of business risks posed by climate change, and our resolution simply asks Dominion to provide the same transparency.”

Before the meeting, a Dominion shareholder and the CCAN in filing an official complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the company's failure to adequately disclose significant financial and environmental risks associated with LNG export project. Dominion is seeking SEC approval to raise project funds through a public stock initial offering.

“I have been involved in shareholder advocacy with Dominion since 2008, and I am saddened and frightened by their continued negligence on climate change,” said Ruth McElroy Amundsen, a shareholder from Norfolk, VA. “Dominion is the largest carbon emitter in a state where coastal cities like mine already see regular and costly flooding due to sea level rise. The resolution I presented this year asks Dominion to set a clear goal for reducing its greenhouse gas pollution, as opposed to the nearly 60 percent increase they are projecting over the next two decades.”

“Dominion plans for huge increases in its natural gas transmission capacity, including exports overseas via Cove Point that will promote increased fracking in eastern states,” said Seth Heald, a Dominion shareholder from Rixeyville, Virginia. Photo credit: CCAN

There were six resolutions presented by company shareholders, including four by Virginia residents. Here's what they want Dominion officials to do:

  • Report on the financial risks posed to Dominion by climate change (24 percent of shareholders voting yes, representing $7.68 billion in shares)
  • Disclose how the company is measuring and reducing methane emissions (21 percent voting yes)
  • Report on the climate change impacts of the company’s reliance on biomass, or wood-burning, for energy (21 percent voting yes)
  • Adopt quantitative goals for reducing Dominion’s overall emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (20 percent voting yes)

“It is clear that Dominion’s agenda to export natural gas puts Ohioans at risk to more fracking, higher energy costs and more extreme weather,” said Brian Kunkemoeller, conservation manager at the Ohio Sierra Club. “Energy independence and curbing climate change starts and ends with clean energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal—and that’s what we’re calling for today.”

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