IMPORTANT NEWS: The public comment period for Rocky Forge has ended. Apex must now produce a document containing all of the comments and their responses. When that document becomes available, we will post it on our site. Click here to view the application documents provided by Apex to the DEQ.
Apex Clean Energy has made significant campaign contributions to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. Apex’s CEO Sandy Reisky, whose full name is Stanislav Reisky de Dubnic, donated $25,000 to McAuliffe between 2012 and 2015. In return, Governor McAuliffe appointed Reisky to the newly-created Virginia Energy Council in 2014. The Virginia Energy Council drafted the Virginia Energy Plan, which went before the General Assembly in October of 2014.
Molly Joseph Ward is another member of the Virginia Energy Council. Ward is also the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources. According to the state website, the Secretary of Natural Resources is charged with upholding Article XI of the Virginia Constitution, which states that “the Commonwealth’s policy [is] to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.”
We find it to be at odds with this constitutional policy that Ward would have written a letter to the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors in support of the Rocky Forge Wind project even before Apex submitted their application for permit by rule with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. In the absence of data of the proposed project’s potential environmental and natural resource impacts, which is information that is required for the permit by rule application, it seems imprudent, and indeed dismissive of her constitutional duty to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources, of Ms. Ward to wholeheartedly endorse the Rocky Forge Wind project to Botetourt County officials.
See the entire letter: Rocky Forge Letter to Botetourt BOS 01.21.16
As a follow-up to this issue, a request was submitted to the Office of the State Inspector General (Virginia) to investigate the following aspects of Secretary Ward’s action:
- The potential and actual impact of Secretary Ward’s influence on state agencies
under her authority, prior to their review of the Rocky Forge wind facility; and
- Secretary Ward’s involvement in the Botetourt County review of the proposed
Rocky Forge project, and her influence on the county’s process.