The tactics used by Dominion Energy to obtain support for and ultimate approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are detailed in a new report released June 1 by the Public Accountability Initiative (PIA). The Power Behind the Pipelines: Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the third in a series of reports the organization has produced on controversial pipeline projects in the United States, examines corporate influence, political donations, revolving door lobbyists, regulatory conflicts and the banks behind the ACP.
Among the report’s key findings are:
- Vast corporate power behind the pipeline. Dominion Energy, the biggest stakeholder in the ACP, is a huge economic and political powerhouse in Virginia and beyond. The company and its powerful CEO have used their deep pockets and political ties to advance their interests generally and around the pipeline.
- An army of revolving door lobbyists. Dominion and its surrogates have deployed a band of private lobbyists who have backgrounds in government – including a former EPA official from the Obama administration.
- Pro-pipeline politicians cash in. State politicians in Virginia and North Carolina who have been publicly vocal about their support for the pipeline have been some of the biggest recipients of donations from its corporate backers.
- Conflicts of interests at regulatory agencies. Key members of regulatory boards tasked with approving the pipeline in Virginia have backgrounds that raise conflict of interest concerns. For example, the Virginia DEQ’s Water Permitting Division Director was once a lawyer for Dominion, according to minutes from a county board meeting.
- Banks invested in the pipeline. Nearly three dozen banks have credit agreements for almost $15 billion in total to Dominion and Duke. Many of these banks are also funding the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline
The PIA is a New York-based non-profit, public interest research organization that investigates power and corruption in business and government.