Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wise Co. Officials Bribed by Dominion? "It Probably Happened If The Company Said So"

The Wise County Board of Supervisors' efforts to endorse the proposed coal-fired power plant turned into a comedy of errors last week. Within the story is an anecdote that tells you all you need to know about how ...
  1. Easy and inexpensive it is to buy off local officials
  2. It's always been so easy for energy companies to have their way with rural communities
  3. No great atrocity can be committed without the help of enablers
Am I overselling it? You tell me:
Some county officials and a handful of supervisors traveled to Richmond earlier this week to speak in favor of the plant during a State Corporation Commission hearing that eventually will determine if Dominion receives a permit to build it.

Dominion officials who met with the Bristol Herald Courier’s editorial board on Friday said the company picked up the tab for 24 supporters who stayed in $99 hotel rooms. Dominion also paid for a meal.

[Board Chairman Bob] Adkins was asked by the Herald Courier before Friday’s meeting if Dominion paid for hotel rooms of county officials who attended the SCC hearing.

"They reserved the rooms for us," he said. "We paid our own way up."

He said the tab "may or may not be picked up by the county administrator," but those who attended paid for their own meals and expenses.

When told Dominion officials said earlier in the day the company paid for a catered meal, Adkins replied, "We had a nice supper."

When told Dominion officials also said they paid for the rooms, Adkins said it probably happened if the company said so.
You can almost picture it as a comedy skit, with the chairman saying, "Whatever Dominion's answer is? That's my answer too. What? You say Dominion changed their answer? Then I change my answer too. And if they change their minds, my mind will then change with them." I just hope the voters of Wise County are paying attention.
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