Fun was to be had today in Richmond, Virginia around noon today, at the offices of Dominion Resources. About two dozen folks identifying themselves as “Billionaires for Coal” assembled to ostensibly voice their praise for the company’s many coal-fired power plants.
Dressed in formal attire and sipping beverages from wine glasses, the group chanted pro-coal, anti-environment slogans and held signs expressing similar sentiments. In addition to rousing recitations such as, “Up with sea levels, up with profits,” the mid-day merriment included a live bluegrass performance by ‘The We Love Money String Band’ who frequently reassured their audience that they’re “only in it for the money.”
Addressing recent displays of opposition to Dominion’s proposed Wise County coal plant, as well as the escalating presence of anti-coal activism on an international scale, Stan Sneezley an alleged billionaire from Harrisonburg said. “I am insulted by all of these people talking about asthma and climate change and their children’s future. These people obviously don’t care about me and my money at all! I say if a few million kids have to wheeze a little for me to breath easy, then so be it! I’m rich!”
The theatrical display at the corner of 8th and Cary bewildered and amused passing motorists and pedestrians. Though the group’s signs and chants kept on message with the façade of billionaires celebrating their controversial investments, leaflets distributed to on-lookers shed a different light on the events of the day. Made to look like large dollar bills, these leaflets revealed that the demonstration was in-fact organized by Blue Ridge Earth First! (BREF!), the same environmental organization that twice staged protests blocking entrance to Dominion’s Tredegar St. headquarters in the Spring and Summer of last year. Citing coal’s role as the chief cause of climate-change among other grievances, the leaflets starkly displayed the alleged “billionaires” alignment with the breadth of grassroots opposition to Dominion Power.
Breaking character, Luis, an Earth First! activist from Charlottesville put it plainly, “Coal is dirty, dangerous and deadly. The public knows it and our political representatives are beginning to reflect our concerns on the matter. The one and only reason that companies like Dominion are still pushing for new coal plants is money. By continuing to pursue a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County, Dominion is saying that the wealth of it’s investors is more important than the health and well-being of that area’s residents.”