Bacon’s Rebellion is pleased to announce that Dominion is sponsoring year-long blog commentary and journalistic coverage of energy and environmental issues in Virginia.
Dominion joins a list of Bacon’s Rebellion sponsors that has included the Piedmont Environmental Council, Bon Secours Richmond and Smart Growth America. Like its predecessors, Dominion asks for nothing more than objective, in-depth commentary and journalism. Dominion will exercise no editorial control over content published by Bacon’s Rebellion.
Unlike previous sponsorships, this one may prove to be controversial. Dominion is regarded in some quarters with suspicion and hostility due to its extensive lobbying clout, large contributions to Virginia electoral campaigns and significant impact on rate payers and the environment. When I weighed the pros and cons of a Dominion sponsorship, I had to consider the possibility that critics might accuse Dominion of having “bought” me to influence my journalistic coverage. After careful consideration, I decided not to be deterred.
First, my professional reputation as a journalist is the source of my livelihood and is not something I will compromise. If anything, Dominion’s sponsorship will cause me to downplay personal opinions of a politically conservative nature that might be construed as sympathetic to the company in favor of pursuing a more straightforward, journalistic approach.
Second, the beauty of the blog format is that readers will hold me accountable. Readers show me no mercy as it is, which I regard as a blessing because they keep me honest and prevent me from getting lazy. If I cut Dominion slack it doesn’t deserve, readers will tell me about it. Loudly.
Third, in the interest of full transparency, I am posting the sponsorship agreement online, with only the dollar amount of the sponsorship redacted.
Here’s how I envision approaching energy and environment. The big story is how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan will be implemented in Virginia and what impact the restructuring of Virginia’s energy industry will have on consumers, the economy and the environment. It’s a many tentacled story, reaching into such issues as nuclear energy, renewable fuels, energy efficiency and natural gas production, among others. I’ll be writing about all those, as well as related matters such as pipelines, transmission lines and the demand for energy in Virginia’s economy. I will endeavor to develop a wide range of sources in the electric power industry, the political and regulatory communities, the business and financial worlds, the environmental community, academia, and among entities representing consumers and rate payers. As Virginia’s largest energy company, with stakes in electricity and natural gas, Dominion will be an important contact, and I will solicit Dominion’s views just as I solicit the views of others.
I am entirely comfortable with the arrangement. Indeed, thanks to this sponsorship, I will be able to dig into one of the biggest issues of our time and to explore perspectives that otherwise would be overlooked in Virginia. I see that as a benefit for everyone.