17 students were arrested at the Department of Environmental Quality in Richmond, VA. We must do everything in our power to ensure that Dominion Energy is not be permitted to dump coal ash into Quantico Creek on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.
The Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC) stands in solidarity with our friends and allies at the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC). Seventeen students were arrested at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) protest this past Monday. As details of the collusion between Dominion Energy and the DEQ surfaced, divestment-activist students; who REC supports on various fossil free campaigns; from Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the University of Mary Washington mobilized under VSEC to hold both Dominion and the DEQ responsible for poisoning the Potomac River.
Virginia residents were enraged by the complete lack of accountability and transparency upon discovering that Dominion Energy was dumping tons of coal ash into Quantico Creek, a Potomac River tributary, for the last decade. The DEQ has continued to issue permits to Dominion Energy for polluting these bodies of water, despite the harmful levels of arsenic concentration found in the waters.
Monday’s VSEC action shows how student power can effectively contribute toward the community’s benefit. We at REC understand the importance of collaborating between campuses and communities, as we support on-campus student organizers across the nation who demand their colleges or university divest from fossil fuel, prison, and student debt holdings. This joint effort is the first step youth and student movements can take to create meaningful, long-lasting, and sustainable change to break the fossil fuel industry's hold on all levels of our government. The fossil fuel industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars to sway politicians anywhere from local municipalities to Congress. Not only must we divest our endowment, we must also divest our democracy to guarantee leaders are in place who will create public support for strong climate policies that defend people and planet.
REC applauds VSEC's organizing efforts and the courageous student activists who risked arrest and put their bodies on the line. Students must continue to push beyond the gates of their campuses to work with, and for, their local communities.
Support the student organizers who led this action by making a contribution to their legal fund here.