Dominion Resources Mountain Top Removal 2013
|Company||Dominion Resources, Inc.|
|Subject(s)||Community Impacts; Mountaintop Removal|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Mountain top removal impacts|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
WHEREAS: The four core values defined in Dominion Resources 2011 - 2012 Citizenship and Sustainability Report are: to serve our customers safely and reliably; to reward our shareholders; to strengthen our communities; and to minimize our environmental impacts.
The highly controversial practice of mountaintop removal mining (MTR) is in stark contrast to each of these values.
RESOLVED: Shareholders (i) request a report, prepared at reasonable cost within six months after the 2013 annual meeting, omitting confidential information, to define the impact and optimum timing of a future policy ending the company’s use of MTR coal, and (ii) request to add this policy as one of the measurable goals in its Sustainability Model and Scorecard.
Mountaintop removal mining is a highly controversial form of surface mining that uses explosives to remove the tops of mountains and dumps the fill and waste into local valleys and streams. Over the last decade, Dominion is estimated to have bought nearly 96 million tons of coal from MTR from central Appalachia, and continues to burn MTR coal at 10 of its Virginia plants.
Dominion’s commitment to serving its customers safely and reliably demands that it not reward a practice responsible for increased rate of birth defects, cardiovascular disease mortality, and cancer, as well as an overall reduction in health-related quality of life — especially when coal mined from less destructive practices is readily available.
The reward to shareholders is jeopardized when the reputational risks associated with MTR are considered. Images of exploding mountains have become the most effective motivator for those expressing environmental concerns and calling for increased regulatory scrutiny of coal mining. These images have helped attract so much attention that several major U.S. and European banks have decided to cease financing companies whose primary coal extraction method is MTR mining. Other companies have recognized the dangers of MTR; a shareholder resolution at Arch Coal dealing with the risks of MTR received 45% of the vote, and Patriot Coal Corporation has agreed to cease mountaintop removal mining.
If Dominion is to strengthen our communities, then it should listen closely to those communities it serves, and those that know first-hand the crippling effects of MTR. According to a recent poll, 57% of voters in the heart of coal country (WV, KY, VA, and TN) oppose MTR, with 42% in strong opposition. These rising numbers are a reflection of how MTR devastates these communities.
MTR is arguably the biggest environmental threat to ever face the Appalachias. This practice has permanently destroyed more than 500 mountains from the Appalachian skyline, buried or polluted more than 1,200 miles of pristine headwater streams, and swept away more than 800 square miles of one of America's most diverse and valuable ecosystems.
MTR is placing an unnecessary risk on Dominion’s reputation when other alternatives are readily available. Left unchecked, mountaintop removal mining will irreversibly destroy the communities, cultural heritage, and environment of the Appalachian coalfields. Left unresolved, Dominion will continue to act in stark contrast to its core values.