My chosen social issue is about Dominion Virginia Power attempting to build lines across the James River, in direct site of Historic Jamestown and through the preserved wetlands surrounding the area. It’s not a normal topic to become invested in if one is not from the Historic Triangle, but it can be related to other areas rich in historic or environmental beauty being threatened by industrialization.
Basically, the problem is that Dominion wants to build the lines over the James River, and is very adamant against backing down from their position. The company claims that it is the most economically sound choice for the Tidewater region in a statistical, money related standard, regardless of where it crosses the river, and must be built by August 2015 to keep the company up to governmental standards. It opposes every alternative option that has been suggested to it, and is currently arguing for rights to build a switching station and run the lines across the river. Hearing Examiner Alexander Skirpan supports their proposition in his final report on the subject of the lines.
If this were indeed to be built exactly the way Dominion would like it to, the lines would be visible from a large portion of the river, since the Historic Triangle area of the James is substantially populated. It would not only be residents of the community that would have to look at these 300 feet towers every time they visited Jamestown, so would every single tourist that chooses the Tidewater area to spend their vacation. Anyone who enjoys marine activities would have to look at them, anyone who takes the ferry to and from Williamsburg to Surry Country will have to look at them, and anyone who owns real estate along the river would have to look at them.
In conclusion, having the lines over the James River cannot be solely considered a general clump of tax dollars being spent for something the collective community does not want. It also has qualitative consequences Dominion seems to just push to the side. Even if tourism doesn’t have a set numerical value, nor do rides over the ferry, they still need to be considered in the overall economic impact this project would have if it is approved. In Dominion’s defense the lines will amp up the power in the Tidewater region for years to come, but is it worth it?