In a statement released over the weekend, Dominion Energy “announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (“ACP”) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.” They added that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays for ACP.”
For those who are wondering what the “recent developments” are, it’s the prolonged campaign against the pipeline by people who were outraged over the environmental impact the unnecessary project would have and the resulting economic consequences that would largely impact on communities that are predominately made up of people of color.
As the news came out, there were several elected officials expressed support for the grassroots activists who secured the victory. Delegate Elizabeth Guzman said we shouldn’t “discount the magic of activism” while adding it’s time to “invest in more clean energy and green union jobs,” for instance, and Danica Roem pointed out that “all y’all who helped change the House of Delegates made a *huge* difference” and gave “our veteran colleagues [in the General Assembly] the reinforcements they needed to successfully fight.”
Perhaps one of the best comments about the announcement came from a “translation” Prince William County Supervisor Kenny Boddye posted on twitter. Kenny suggested Dominion’s press release essentially said “we would’ve gotten away with our money-making, planet-killing gas export scheme if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!” Kenny’s remarks not only hit the nail on the head, but also helped to highlight just how many people representing Prince William County really stepped up on this issue.
In addition to the obvious environmental victory this decision represents, it’s also a huge deal because it shows how Dominion’s power in slowly fading. The state regulated monopoly has long gotten its way as it poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of politicians on both sides of the aisle. This has meant any real progress was going to difficult because even elected officials who were supposedly environmentally friendly owed their election in part to receiving funds from Dominion.
As Del. Roem hinted at in her comments, however, the recent changes in the House of Delegates helped to address this. Not only were there more people in the General Assembly advocating for environmental justice, but many folks had pledged not to take campaign donations from Dominion and therefore had stronger footing to truly take a stance against some of the utility company’s horrible policies.
While there is obviously still more work to be done to ensure the natural resources Virginia has to offer are protected, this is indeed a great reminder of how grassroots activists standing up for what’s right can have a positive impact on the community.