Updates

Dominion CEO Faces Growing Backlash Over Risks of Extreme Energy at Shareholder Meeting

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2013

Contact:
Beth Kemler, 804-335-0915, beth@chesapeakeclimate.org
Phillip Ellis, 202-320-2044, phillip.ellis@sierraclub.org

Dominion CEO Faces Growing Backlash Over Risks of Extreme Energy at Shareholder Meeting

Through resolutions and re-imaginings of classic paintings, Virginians urge Dominion to stop leading the way toward an unrecognizable future of climate disruption and marred landscapes

RICHMOND—Dominion Resources CEO Thomas Farrell is putting his own company and Virginians at risk by promoting dirty energy in a rapidly warming world, according to shareholders and grassroots activists protesting at the company’s annual meeting in Richmond today. While shareholders present reform resolutions inside, activists are exhibiting altered artwork outside to represent the unrecognizable future of rising seas, extreme weather disasters and destroyed mountains they say Dominion is leading Virginia toward. The company is Virginia’s biggest climate polluter and a major purchaser of coal from mountaintop removal mining.

Three separate resolutions are targeting the significant shareholder and reputational risks posed by Dominion’s fossil fuel-heavy energy portfolio. They would move Farrell and his board to: 1) tie executive compensation to sustainability goals, 2) phase out the company’s purchase of coal mined through the destructive practice of mountaintop removal, and 3) report on the financial risks posed to Dominion by climate change, and how the company will address them.

“Dominion must change its current compensation incentives to properly reward executives for making decisions that actually encourage long-term sustainability for its customers and shareholders,” said Ruth Amundsen, a Dominion shareholder from Hampton Roads. “Management must use environmental responsibility and long-term stability as guides instead of pursuing short-term profits at the expense of the environment.”

Outside the meeting, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a group of protesters is lining the entrance with giant “replicas” of classical paintings showing the unrecognizable future that Farrell and his board are leading Virginia toward, including a Starry Night marred by mountaintop removal and The Birth of Venus submerged by rising seas. Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter all supported today’s action, which is the latest in a series of public protests that Dominion has faced over the past year.

Dominion is seeing an increase in shareholder activism as well. In all, nine sustainability-related shareholder resolutions were submitted to Dominion during the 2013 proxy season, up from one resolution in 2010, four in 2011 and six in 2012. This year, the company challenged many of the resolutions through the Securities and Exchange Commission and four of them survived.

“It’s past time for Dominion Resources to join the ranks of responsible corporations that have stopped financing and buying mountaintop removal coal,” said Seth Heald, a Dominion shareholder from Rixeyville, Virginia. “By continuing to buy this tainted coal, Dominion’s management and board damage the company’s image and put shareholders unnecessarily at risk.”

“Dominion’s shareholders and customers deserve to know the full extent of the risks climate change poses to them, especially as Farrell’s and board members’ decisions lead us closer to out of control impacts,” said Beth Kemler, Virginia State Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the presenter of the climate risk resolution. “If Dominion’s executives were honest about the huge economic risks of their fossil fuel-dominated power supply, the overwhelming rewards of switching to clean energy would become self-evident.”

The text of the shareholder resolutions and supporting letters are available in Dominion’s 2013 proxy statement, pages 64-70: https://www.dom.com/investors/pdf/proxy2013.pdf

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