Dominion Riverrock organizers say thanks but no thanks to pipeline protesters.
by Peter Galuszka
Wild Virginia, a Charlottesville-based environmental group critical of Dominion Resources’s efforts to build a $5 billion natural gas pipeline in sensitive Appalachian Mountain areas, is unwelcome at a Richmond outdoor sports and music festival sponsored by the utility.
The group had sent out emails saying that it had arranged for a table at Dominion Riverrock, the three-day festival starting today, so it could “tell the truth” about Dominion.
In a story about Dominion published May 12, Style noted the group’s plans. The next day, Megan Schultz, events manager for Sports Backers, which is putting on Riverrock, informed Wild Virginia that its application for a vendor table had been rejected. She included a credit for the $1,200 entry fee.
When asked by Style about the sudden change of heart, Schultz said that Wild Virginia’s application was rejected because “Dominion Riverrock is a celebration of Richmond’s downtown riverfront, and based on Wild Virginia’s public comments, they were not in line with our efforts to put on a great outdoor sports and music festival.”
Misty Boos, a member of Wild Virginia, said, “It looks like we are not welcome at Riverrock.”
She said earlier that her group had toured mountain areas where Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline would traverse. She said the project seemed like it would be highly damaging to the environment.
Dominion has said the 550-mile pipeline is necessary to counter a reliance on coal. It says it will meet strict requirements and work to minimize environmental impacts.
Riverrock is not unfamiliar with activists using the festival as a platform to get their message out. Last year, a group calling itself Richmond Resistance unfurled large banners with environmental messages, prompting a response from Dominion saying the protesters were misguided and that the utility had a good environmental record.