Target: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
Goal: Don’t allow dumping of wastewater from coal ash ponds into the James River, a threatened and endangered species habitat.
The Virginia State Water Control Board has approved a permit allowing Dominion Virginia Power to dump more than 250 million gallons of treated coal ash wastewater into the James River. This wastewater contains arsenic, selenium, mercury, and other harmful substances that are potentially devastating to the threatened and endangered species that live in this habitat, as well as to the residents of surrounding areas who rely on the James River for drinking water and recreational use.
The James River is vital to commerce, recreation, health, transportation, tourism, and industrial power in Virginia. One third of Virginia’s population lives within the river’s watershed area, and residents of 39 surrounding counties rely on it as their primary source of drinking water. The extremely biodiverse river is also home to multiple key aquatic species including the James spinymussel, a federally endangered species. Clean water is absolutely essential for the spinymussel to thrive and reproduce, and wastewater dumping could be devastating to this species’ dwindling numbers.
Dominion is obligated, per the permit, to meet minimal water quality requirements, though many citizen groups have criticized these minimums for being too lenient. Additionally, the permit only requires Dominion to monitor once every 30 days. Even representatives from Dominion concede that potential violations of safety standards could slip under the radar during periods with no monitoring. Dominion continually states that they are operating within safety standards, but the standards set forth in the permit are far too lenient. Virginians and the wildlife present in the James River deserve better than an arsenic limit 15 times higher than that of neighboring states.
Sign the petition below to urge Governor Terry McAuliffe to deny the permit allowing Dominion to dump wastewater into the James River, and to develop a safer plan for the citizens and wildlife of Virginia.
The permit approved by the Virginia State Water Control Board allowing Dominion Virginia Power to dump coal ash wastewater into the James River is potentially devastating to the threatened and endangered species that live in the river, as well as to the Virginians who rely on the James River for drinking water and recreation. This petition asks that you protect the citizens and wildlife of Virginia by denying this permit and stopping the release of coal ash wastewater into the James River.
The standards set forth in the permit are far too low, and I ask you to pursue development of a safety plan that matches or exceeds the water safety standards being met by neighboring states such as North Carolina. The residents of the James River watershed deserve better than an arsenic limit 15 times higher than the standard currently being met in North Carolina.
I am urging you to reflect on the potential ramifications of this permit, stop Dominion Virginia Power from dumping in the James River, and seek a higher standard of safety for Virginia’s waterways.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thea Ganoe