Friday, February 29, 2008

Meeting Notes from February 6, 2008

Below are the February notes and summary of the Do Something Charlottesville meeting of February 6, 2008 submitted by Jennifer (thanks Jennifer). Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month at the Downtown Library starting at 6:30 pm (and are scheduled to end about 7:45 pm).


We had another great meeting this week! We polled everyone's interests and came up with a list of broad areas of interest. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, but I think the general consensus was that a loose grouping would be helpful to direct our energies. Everyone brightened at a proposed idea to develop "action items," so we want to build on that before the next meeting.

One of our members, Michael, sent an email asking you to decide which area of interest you'd like to pursue. In the notes below, I listed some of the ideas that have been generated for each of these areas. The next step will be to come up with at least ONE action that each of the groups would like to take. We can organize this by emailing each other or by getting our groups together for coffee. At next month's meeting on Wednesday, March 5, we'll get started with organizing these actions!! Hannah and I will let you know how to get in touch with the people who share your interests before our next meeting.

We didn't have time to cover some housekeeping items at the meeting. You all should have received an invitation to join the our Google Group. This is just a way to stay organized. First of all, having a group email distribution list is easier than adding everyone individually. Also, all of the emails that the group sends will be stored in chronological order. Let us know if you have any questions about this!


We had some new people join us this week! Welcome, John Cruickshank, David Dusseau, Frances Lee Vandell, David Steinberg, Chris Wilson, and Shirley Napps.


Last month's homework was to send Creigh Deeds a Valentine asking him to support SB446, the Clean Energy Future bill. This bill has been stuck in the Commerce and Labor committee since January 9. Since this is the "Virginia is for Mountain Lovers" week of action, we decided to send Valentines to Governor Kaine asking him to stop mountaintop removal coal mining. Thanks, Kelly, for bringing the supplies!

This month's homework was distributed on a flyer. Dominion's Air Quality Permit is up for review and we need to send in comments or attend one of the public hearings. If you want to travel to Wise County on February 11 or to Richmond on February 19, send an email to the group and we'll try to share rides.


- Fight misinformation
- Provide consistent, clear and accurate information to the public

- Post information at the McIntire center about CFLs
- Get recycling on the downtown mall
- Collaborate with Teri Kent of Better World Betty

Local/State Government
- Analyze new City budget to determine what money could be designated for climate change initiatives
- Engage with the City's Environmental Sustainability Committee
- Present climate change information at local government meetings
- Lobby state and local representatives (support open air burning restrictions, anti-idling measures)

Charlottesville/Albemarle/UVa Coordination and Networking
- Engage student groups in local environmental actions
- Build on initiatives that are taking place in all areas
- Connect resources from each area

Events/Public Outreach
- Host a film festival
- Street theater
- Simulate local mountaintop removal mining
- Earth Day event
- Festival of the Photo
- Concert with local musicians (Trees on Fire is organizing a concert in March)
- Article/Book discussion group

Southwest Virginia
- economic development (local herb farms)
- fighting the Dominion power plant
- fighting mountaintop removal coal mining


Dawn provided information about the Relocalization movement. She noted that everything the group has discussed is part of Relocalization. She advocated the use of a structure that is already in place, including a website. She invited everyone to learn more about it and decide if this is something that the group would like to pursue.


Our blog:

(Email Peter with submissions at

Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System (complicated
government website for tracking bills):

Richmond Sunlight (much easier and fun way to track bills in Va
General Assembly!):

Better World Betty (Teri Kent's website for reducing, recycling, and reusing):


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Imagine Locally - Act Globally

In an attempt to bring the impacts of mountaintop removal in Wise County VA to folks in greater Charlottesville, I selected a few images from the web to 'simulate' what mountaintop removal would be like in our neighborhood. Check out the posting on

Friday, February 8, 2008

Christmastime Photo

I just downloaded some photos from my digital camera and thought you might like to see a photo I took of the climate action on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall in late December 2007. I also want to get a few photo images on this blog to inspire you to send me some for posting. Send them to along with descriptive material.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dominion offers to switch Fluvanna plant to natural gas

Dominion is attempting to do a bit of a pollution swap as part of promoting their Wise County coal-fired power plant licensing request. Check out the article published in today's (Feb. 5) Daily Progress. Dominion's plan it to switch the Bremo Bluff plant (not very far from Charlottesville) from coal to gas and make the plant a peak-load generation plant if they can get the Wise County coal plant approved and built to provide base-load generation. My hunch is that there will be 'winners' and 'losers' if this happens, but the global environment appears to fall into the losers category due. Check out the news story online.

Yes, you can do something local to save our planet - Tomorrow (Feb. 6), if not Today.

Looking for a way to get involved locally in fighting global warming? "Do Something Charlottesville" is a new citizen action group that is just starting up here in town and is looking for local members who are ready to do something about global warming! Don't worry if you missed the first meeting in January as we are getting geared up and always looking for your voice and your ideas. Now is your chance! The second meeting is happening this week and we'd love to see you there.

Where: McIntire Room in the Central Library, 201 E. Market Street
When: Wednesday, February 6 at 6:30 pm - 7:45pm
What: 2nd meeting of Do Something Charlottesville -- a new citizen action climate change group
Why: To take local action in the face of global climate changeHope to see you this Wednesday!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Letter in Washington Post on the topic of Climate Change and Mountaintop Removal

In case you didn't see this past Sunday's Washington Post, you might like to read this letter from Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network that was published that day. The photo of a mountaintop removal site I found by searching for "mountaintop removal" images on the web. I am not sure where this site is located.

Dominion Power's Dirty Plans for Virginia

Washington Post, The (DC)-January 27, 2008

Fact: Virginia gets less than 1 percent of its electricity from "green" sources such as the wind or the sun. Fact: Virginia ranks 38th among U.S. states in energy efficiency. Fact: Climate change is real, and fossil fuel substitutes are needed, according to President Bush's State of the Union address last year. So how would Dominion Virginia Power respond to these facts?

Savagely blow up entire mountains in southwest Virginia.

Feed the resulting exposed coal to a proposed power plant that is unnecessary and would cost ratepayers at least $1.8 billion.

Create lots more greenhouse gases in the process.

Doom the good people of southwest Virginia to living with a brutal extraction industry that has no future.

Whew! Talk about getting everything wrong.

stonishingly, Gov. Tim Kaine supports Dominion Virginia Power's controversial 585-megawatt coal plant proposed for Wise County. He supports this despite three more facts. First, a senior aide of the governor recently admitted that there's "less than 10 years' worth of commercially viable coal left in Virginia." Second, more than 200 Virginians packed a hearing room this month in Richmond to denounce the proposal being considered by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Third, Kaine's energy plan includes passages explicitly discouraging the development of "conventional" power (i.e., fossil fuels) until the state has maximized efficiency and clean-energy development.


Virginia has one of the most bloated, inefficient electricity loads in America. Per capita use is roughly twice as high as it is in California and New York. Just phasing out inefficient light bulbs, as Congress has mandated beginning in 2012, would eliminate electricity consumption in Virginia equal to half the entire output of the Wise County plant. And using money-saving "smart grid" systems -- a technology that painlessly shuts off air conditioners for brief moments and invisibly manages other electricity use in homes -- could save the electricity equivalent of two Wise County plants. So why are we building this facility?

Thankfully, there's still time for Kaine and the legislature to kill this disastrous power plant idea and create, instead, a real and lasting energy prosperity for southwest Virginia and the rest of the state. Beyond efficiency, federal estimates show Virginia could get 12 percent of its electricity from wind farms using just a small area of land. Yet Dominion's wind-power investments equal less than 0.5 percent of its total mid-Atlantic generation capacity. And the best the state government has done on efficiency is offer a four-day tax holiday to Virginians who buy efficient bulbs and appliances.

The Clean Energy Future Act, a bill now before the Virginia General Assembly, would correct these glaring deficiencies. It would follow the lead of dozens of other states in setting robust but realistic statutory targets in clean power, efficiency and "green jobs."

Twenty five percent of the land area in beautiful Wise County, in the heart of Appalachia, has been destroyed by mountaintop removal and other mining in the past four decades. Let's save the mountains still standing and embrace durable, sustainable industries there such as cultural tourism, outdoor recreation and wind farms. Let's simultaneously retrain and support the coal miners who'd rather build solar panels and windmills anyway, if only they had a governor and legislature willing to stand up to Dominion and finally say stop!

-- Mike Tidwell

Takoma Park
The writer is director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Edition: F
Section: Editorial
Page: B8

Record Number: 012708XB08Do986015
Copyright 2008 The Washington Post