Category Archives: Conflicts of Interest

About PR Firm Behind ‘Your Energy America’ Front Group Pushing ACP

On June 14, 2017, DeSmog reported on the PR firm behind Your Energy America, the a newly formed front group pushing Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline (see story below). By tracing the hosting information for the group’s website, DeSmog found evidence pointing to the PR firm behind the group: DDC Advocacy. “Short for Democracy, Data & Communications, DDC’s founding partner, chairman, and CEO, B.R. McConnon in the past ‘has acted as a key contact and spokesperson for [National Federation for Independent Business],’ according to his LinkedIn. NFIB takes funding from Koch Industries and other major corporate interests, and McConnon began his career as a policy analyst for the Koch-founded Citizens for a Sound Economy, the precursor to Americans for Prosperity.”

The article goes on to describe DDC’s other activities, including the American Petroleum Institute’s Energy Citizens campaign to promote fracking in the Marcellus Shale, and work for Phillip Morris on a website trying to fend off efforts to mandate plain packaging for the tobacco industry.

Read the full article here.

New Report Looks at Powerful Corporate Interests Behind Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Public Accountability Initiative has released a new report, The Power Behind Pipelines: Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Four energy corporations – Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, and Southern Company Gas – are behind the proposed pipeline, though Dominion is the driving force.

The ACP has raised intense opposition from environmentalists and communities that stand to be impacted by it. Its proposed route will run through environmentally fragile land, threaten land values and nearby residents, and potentially involve mountain ridgeline reduction. Opponents claim abuse of eminent domain laws for private gain and argue that the ACP is not needed to meet regional energy demands, but is rather an attempt to raise profits to please shareholders.

The new report maps out some of the powerful interests behind the ACP.

Key findings include:

  • Vast corporate power behind the pipeline. Dominion Energy, the biggest stakeholder in the ACP, is a huge economic and political powerhouse in Virginia and beyond. The company and its powerful CEO have used their deep pockets and political ties to advance their interests generally and around the pipeline.
  • An army of revolving door lobbyists. Dominion and its surrogates have deployed a band of private lobbyists who have backgrounds in government – including a former EPA official from the Obama administration.
  • Pro-pipeline politicians cash in. State politicians in Virginia and North Carolina who have been publicly vocal about their support for the pipeline have been some of the biggest recipients of donations from its corporate backers.
  • Conflicts of interests at regulatory agencies. Key members of regulatory boards tasked with approving the pipeline in Virginia have backgrounds that raise conflict of interest concerns. For example, the Virginia DEQ’s Water Permitting Division Director was once a lawyer for Dominion, according to minutes from a county board meeting.
  • Banks invested in the pipeline. Nearly three dozen banks have credit agreements for almost $15 billion in total to Dominion and Duke. Many of these banks are also funding the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

Read the full report on the Web or download a pdf version.