A group of climate and social justice activists known as Richmond Resistance unfurled several banners at around 1 p.m. during the crowded sixth annual Dominion Riverrock event on Brown's Island.
The banners contained messages criticizing Dominion Power's contribution to global warming and its political spending, as well as calling out Venture Richmond for its "involvement in the LovingRVA public relations campaign for a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom," according to a press release.
Three smaller banners read “Dominion -- global warming starts here,” “Dominion: Top VA Polluter” and “End Mtn Top Removal." A larger banner hung from the 9th St. bridge above the main stage that read: “Dominion + Venture Present Profits > People."
Self-billed as "the nation's premiere outdoor sports and music festival," the weekend festival is organized by Venture Richmond and Sports Backers and sponsored by Dominion Virginia Power. This year organizers estimated crowds for the three-day event at 100,000, making it the largest Riverrock event yet.
The activists sent a press release to Style Weekly explaining their protest action (excerpted below):
"The first banners called attention to Dominion’s corporate greenwashing, parodying their logo using fossil fuel smokestacks instead of the familiar pointed finger. Greenwashing is the practice of spending large sums of money on 'green' PR, while a corporation’s business model inherently involves the destruction of the environment. The giant tarp, also directed towards Venture Richmond, is a part of activists’ backlash against the booster group’s involvement in the LovingRVA public relations campaign for a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom, to call out Virginia politicians taking large donations from corporate interests, and the growing trend of privatization efforts in Richmond, that seem to profit politicians and corporate executives more than residents themselves.
Sponsoring events like the Riverrock festival can’t erase the company’s huge contribution to the global climate crisis. Dominion is the biggest climate polluter in Virginia--that means that while they’re sponsoring Riverrock and other festivals, they are also pouring millions of tons of carbon into the air. If Dominion really cared about Virginians and sports enthusiasts, they would develop clean energy, like wind and solar, instead of building new nuclear and fossil fuels plants [that] are polluting our air and our water, and burning coal from mountaintop removal coal mining.
We need to focus on locally sourced, renewable energy, not dirty antiquated fuels. Our environment needs to be considered before profit margins. Coal, natural gas, and oil are killing us. We are organizing for a better future."
Update: Tuesday, May 20:
David Botkins, media relations director at Dominion Virginia Power, sent the following response Monday evening:
The comments are clearly misguided. Dominion has a good environmental record. We already have one of the cleanest power generating fleets in the country. We produce less greenhouse gas for every megawatt of electricity than the vast majority of our peers. And we have enough renewable generation in production, construction or development to power more than 800,000 homes. Just this year alone we are in the process of adding numerous other solar generation projects. We are committed to maintaining the right balance of reliability, affordability and responsibility – and we know that going too far too fast in any one direction can jeopardize the essential service our customers depend on us to provide – which is to keep the lights on.