Activists accuse Dominion of 'greenwashing' during protests at Riverrock

Activists accuse Dominion of 'greenwashing' during protests at Riverrock

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A number of environmental protesters made their way to Brown's Island and Dominion Riverrock Saturday evening.

According to protesters, the aim of their demonstration, which featured dozens of Richmond area activists, and organizers from the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, was to "literally 'blow the whistle' on the utility company's greenwashing of its dirty power and dirty politics," the CCAN remarked in a press release Saturday.

Donning yellow shirts and literally blowing whistles at the event, protesters said in a statement that they're concerned about several of Dominion Virginia Power's ongoing projects and its impacts on the environment, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the dumping of treated coal ash wastewater into the James River.

According to Dominion's Coal Ash Pond Management and Closures Water Treatment and Testing page, the power company "began treating, testing and releasing water from its ash ponds at Bremo Power Station on April 27 and at Possum Point Power Station on May 9."

In a NBC12 report leading up to the release, Dominion officials say, over the next two years, the company will be treating and testing the equivalent of 240 Olympic-size swimming pools.

As part of a federal mandate to power companies to transition to natural gas, Dominion had to close coal ash ponds at all of its power stations. Bremo was the first on the list.

Dominion says every batch will be tested before it's released. Those results will be posted weekly on the company's website.

Protesters at Riverrock said that their efforts were meant to bring attention to what they call "greenwashing" by Dominion.

"The demonstration is not intended to interfere with this fun event on the James, but only to educate attendees about Dominion's poor environmental record and its 'greenwashing.'"

Dominion officials released the following statement in response to the demonstration at Riverrock Saturday evening.

Dominion Riverrock is all about celebrating the James River. This event has grown in popularity every year and has earned the reputation of being the nation’s largest outdoor ad musical festival.  There are thousands of people from across the region who have come here to celebrate the river. 

Today is not the time or place for protests that take away from what Sports Backers and Venture Richmond have worked so hard to create.  Dominion would be more than happy to discuss our commitment to the health of the James River and the environment in general, at another time. 

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