RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) –Environmental activists staged a sit-in at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s headquarters Monday afternoon demanding the agency repeal permits related to releasing coal ash wastewater into the state’s rivers.
Richmond Police spokesman Gene Lepley said 17 protesters were charged with trespassing and released Monday. The protest was organized by the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.
DEQ has been under fire from environmental groups and other for issuing a permit to Dominion Virginia Power to discharge treated coal ash waste- and stormwater into the James and Potomac Rivers.
Coal ash is the potentially toxic legacy of decades of coal-fired energy.
Dominion says the water will be treated and groundwater will be monitored.
In late February, eight people were arrested for trespassing on the Capitol’s steps after a rowdy march of environmental activists against Dominion. The event was dubbed “Dump Dominion, a march for our rivers” and was sponsored by the group No ACP, which stands for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Many environmentalists oppose the pipeline as well as the company’s plans for disposing of coal ash and want the DEQ to rescind state permits that Dominion has received to release the treated coal ash into waterways.
According to the organization’s pamphlet, “spreading toxic coal ash throughout our communities and poisoning our water is not a solution. The DEQ must repeal these discharge permits immediately and rewrite them to ensure that Dominion complies with their own promises to treat the wastewater to drinking quality standards.”
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