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.  The time to make your voice heard is right now.  

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