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Agreement Reached With Dominion Energy On Coal Ash Clean Up

Governor Ralph Northam and a broad bipartisan coalition of lawmakers announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached with Dominion Energy to clean up

Governor Ralph Northam and Republican Speaker of the House Kirk Cox

Governor Ralph Northam and a broad bipartisan coalition of lawmakers announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached with Dominion Energy to clean up several large coal ash deposits in Chesterfield, Chesapeake City, Prince William and Fluvanna.

The plan would require Dominion to remove 27 million cubic yards of coal ash from unlined ponds close to major waterways.

“As they exist now, we run the risk that they could contaminate the drinking water supply or tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “We can’t afford an environmental disaster in Virginia like the one North Carolina suffered from the Duke Energy coal ash spill on the Dan River.” Governor Ralph Northam and General Assembly Coal Ash

Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R – Colonial Heights) says a tremendous issue for him in negotiating the deal was minimizing truck traffic at the Chesterfield site.

“We were looking at maybe 300 trucks per day for 15 years,” said Cox. “That was just untenable.”

The issue was resolved by storing the coal ash on site in two lined landfills. At least 25 percent of the coal ash would be recycled in products like concrete. The remaining 75 percent would be relocated to lined landfills.

“We’re going above and beyond what the EPA is requiring,” said Senator Scott Surrovell (D – Fairfax). “The bare minimum would not necessarily mandate recycling.”

Environmental advocates like Michael Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voterswere pleased with the clean up plan.

“It creates flexibility, it creates options,” said Town. “Most importantly it gets the ash off the river banks and puts it into facilities that are designed to accept it and protects the environment and our public health from the toxic waste.”

The project will cost 3 billion dollars over 15 years. Dominion will charge customers a monthly fee for the clean up which will peak at 5 dollars per customer and gradually reduce over the life of the project.

“Pollution control is something rate payers always have to fund,” Surrovell said. “When you turn on a light, you create pollution. That’s something that you have to pay for as part of electricity.”