How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Possum Point Coal Ash Public Comment

Public comment on coal ash disposal on Possum Point in Prince William County is open through mid-December.  I've written a few posts regarding the developing situation and there has also been increasing media attention on the issue.

In 1948, Dominion Virginia Power opened the 650-acre Possum Point Power Station located on the Potomac River near Quantico and Dumfries, Virginia. 

Between 1948 and 2003, Dominion deposited approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of coal ash - the byproduct of burning coal - into five different ponds near the Potomac River (Ponds A-E) - equal to a layer of about one foot of ash spread over 1,800 football fields.  Dominion describes the history here:

Given their age, the ponds were not built to modern structure and only one has any amount of "lining" (and the amount of lining in that pond is debatable).

Coal ash is well-known to leach lead, mercury, selenium, chlorine, arsenic, boron, hexavalent chromium and other heavy metals.  Experience at other sites has found heavy metals leeching into groundwater. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Weekly Column: Newport News Shipbuilding and Virginia's Port, Important to the Entire State

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of November 25, 2015.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Virginia's Port, Important to the Entire State

Last week, I joined the Virginia Senate's Finance Committee in Portsmouth for briefings on   Virginia’s economy, revenue projections  and other important issues facing the state legislature.  More on that later.  While in Portsmouth, I toured two significant and under-appreciated Virginia assets. 
While neither the shipyard nor the Port is located in Northern Virginia, both have a significant impact on our quality of life and the entire state’s economy.  A healthy Port of Virginia has beneficial ripple effects across the whole state.
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News Shipbuilding, dating to 1886, is the only facility in the United States capable of constructing an aircraft carrier and one of two in the country that can build a submarine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TOMORROW - Coal Ash Disposal Hearing


Wednesday, November 18, 20157:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
VA Department of Environmental Quality
Northern Regional Office
13901 Crown Court
Woodbridge, VA 22193
Official Meeting Notice
           Tomorrow, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will host a public information hearing at its Woodbridge office regarding the future of five large Dominion Virginia Power coal ash dumps dating to the 1950's less than 1,000 yards from the Potomac River near Quantico and Dumfries. 
           Four ponds are entirely unlined.  All contain large amounts of coal ash waste which is well known to contain high levels of hazardous metals including lead, boron, cadmium, selenium, arsenic, and hexavalent chromium. 
           DEQ is proposing to allow Dominion Virginia Power to release treated industrial wastewater and storm water at a combined rate of 172 million gallons per day from eight outfalls from these ponds into Quantico Creek and the Potomac River. They are also proposing to allow Dominion to cap existing coal ash waste deposits in place instead of remove them to locations well away from the Quantico Creek and the Potomac River.  
            You can read more information about the coal ash problem on my online newsletter, the Dixie Pig here:
            It will be one of very few opportunities for the public to obtain information and ask questions before a decision is made to leave this waste in place in our community for generations.
            Please attend this hearing and contact my office if you have any questions or need further information!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thank You 36th District Voters!

The final results are in and thanks to all of your hard work, financial support, and most of all, your votes, I will be sworn in as the next Senator for the 36th District in January.
The results were decisive across the board:
  • We prevailed in 16 of 17 precincts in Fairfax County and won Fairfax County 68% to 31%
  • We prevailed in 20 of 26 precincts in Prince William County and won Prince William County 57% to 43%
  • We split Stafford County precincts 2 v. 2 and only lost the County by 131 votes
  • We won the district by 60%, but the absentee by 68% and showed the state the difference that a real absentee voting program can have in a race.
Although we did not regain control of the Senate of Virginia last night, we had many results in the 36th District to be happy about.  When I run a campaign, it is very important to me to help all of the candidates that I run with - up and down the ticket.  We are all stronger when we work together.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In Person Early Voting Has Begun!

In-person absentee voting is underway in Northern Virginia.  Information about all three jurisdictions in the 36th District is below.

You can vote early in-person if you have a reason.  Some of the most common reasons are:
  • You work outside the county you live in
  • Your commute/work takes you away from home for 11 or more hours between 6 am and 7 p.m. on Election Day
  • You are ill or disabled (including difficulty standing in line)
  • Pregnancy
  • Active Duty Military or dependent of the same
  • In college outside of county of residence
  • First responder
A full list of reasons is here.

You can also electronically file your request to vote by mail here:



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Michael Pope and WAMU Highlight Victims of Car Title Lending

Over the last week, WAMU reporter Michael Pope aired an insightful five-part series highlighting the stories of Virginia car title lending victims. 

Finding these victims and highlighting their stories took a lot of perseverance and it's an impressive series. 

 I have been fighting these practices for the last three years.  In 2013 and 2014, I introduced HB2323 and HB973 to give the Board of Supervisors the authority to limit the number that can locate in an area and in 2015, I introduced HB2011 prohibiting consumer finance companies from locating in the same storefront - which is a major focus of this story. 

You can listen to each story here:
Story #1 - Inside The Fast Cash World of Virginia Car-Title Lenders (Oct. 5, 2015)

Story #2 - How Virginia Became the Region's Hub For High-Interest Loans (Oct. 6, 2015)

Story #3 - For Military Personnel, High Interest Lenders Aren't Far Away (Oct. 7, 2015)

Story #4 - As Repossessions Pile Up, Critics of Car Title Lenders Call for Change (Oct. 8, 2015)

Story #5 - Inside Virginia's Car-Title Loan Industry and Why It Drives Watchdog Groups Crazy (Oct. 9, 2015)
Attorney General Mark Herring has announced a new unit to focus on predatory lending and on Friday, Governor McAuliffe announced that he is also going to propose an interest rate cap.  No word on what that number will be, but it's nice to finally have some company fighting these companies. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin Storm Information

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Northern Virginia due to the approach of Hurricane Joaquin. 
We are expected to receive heavy rain over the next three days as shown on the right. 

The path of the storm is still highly uncertain given existing weather patterns so please continue to monitor events.

The following information should help you prepare for the storm:  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Action Needed on Predatory Lending

Last month, I released my new political advertisement discussing the problem of exploding predatory lending on U.S. 1.

Today, I held a press conference with Attorney General Mark Herring regarding the continuing problem of predatory lending in the U.S. 1 Corridor and his recent decision to set up a unit in the Attorney General's Office specifically focused on enforcing Virginia's laws against predatory lenders.

Car Title Lenders on Route 1 are preying on working families and service members with up to 264% interest rates. It's wrong. As your Senator, I'll stop these outrageous rates.
Posted by Scott A. Surovell on Wednesday, August 19, 2015
There are several things we can do to get this under control:
  • Allow local governments to limit the number of predatory lending businesses that can locate in a neighborhood.
  • Limit predatory lenders from locating within a certain radius of their targets such as military bases or casinos.
  • Prohibit car title lenders from co-locating other financial institutions that offer different products in the same storefront.
  • Cap interest rates at thirty-six percent.
I have here is media coverage of our press conference.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekly Column: More Access to Clean Solar Power for Virginians

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of September 1, 2015.
More Access to Clean Solar Power for Virginians
Last week, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved an innovative solar program proposed by Dominion Resources, a project that will enhance consumer choices and facilitate clean, renewable energy production for many Virginians.
As Virginia implements the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the state's utilities  need to transition to systems that reduce carbon emissions and deliver reliable, affordable power to  homes and businesses.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Secretary of the Commonwealth to give Voter Restoration Update in Mt. Vernon

Governor McAuliffe has restored more peoples' voting rights in 18 months than any governor has in 4 years and the Route 1 Corridor has a high concentration of people who are eligible for restoration. It is important to spread awareness about the restoration process and my campaign has already identified a dozen people who are eligible to have their voting rights restored.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fort Hunt Park Public Comments

The National Park Service is in the process if revising their long-term use plan for Fort Hunt Park.

Their initial proposal was met with a health rebuke from our community.  I wrote about it here, accepted hundreds of community comments, the National Park Service heeded our comments and the process was further revised:

The National Park Service is now out with their final two proposed alternatives (three if you count "no action").  My public comments are below.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Surovell Calls for Debates Across the 36th District

Mount Vernon, Virginia- Today Delegate Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax), challenged Republican nominee Mayor Jerry Foreman to debates across the 36th district.

"It's time for Mayor Foreman to stop hiding behind negative push polls and debate me face to face", Surovell said.  "I propose we hold a series of debates in every section of the District so the voters can come hear our vision for the Route 1 Corridor."

Surovell proposed a debate in every part of the district- organized by the two campaigns or any community groups willing to do so.  To date, no debates have been proposed by any group in the 36th district.

Surovell's plan includes 6 debates, with them held in each of the following areas:

Stafford County
Lee District (Fairfax County)
Mt. Vernon District (Fairfax County)
Occoquan/Coles Districts (Prince William County)
Woodbridge/Neabsco Districts (Prince William County)
Potomac District (Prince William County)

"Our district spans nine magisterial districts in three counties, and runs for over 20 miles along the Potomac River", Surovell noted.  "I hope Mayor Foreman will accept my challenge and we can begin planning debates immediately."

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